Border Patrol agents at the Blaine Border Patrol Station in Washington have linked the 575 percent surge in arrests of smuggling vehicles used to transport illegal migrants to the increasing number of border crossings at the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico borders.
According to documents exclusively obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation, Border Patrol agents captured a total of 27 vehicles this fiscal year, a big increase from the four recorded cases in 2022.
In July alone, Border Patrol agents at the Blaine station arrested 10 drivers of smuggling vehicles. Over the same period, a total of 103 alarms of illegal migrants, primarily from Mexico, India and China, were made by Border Patrol in the sector. A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official, who requested to remain anonymous, confirmed that the illegal migrants came from those countries.
In a related incident on June 9, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) agents captured two disguised FedEx vehicles near the Texas-Mexico border that are trying to smuggle a total of 26 migrants into the U.S. territory. The first encounter near the border in El Paso, Texas was smuggling 12 migrants, while the other at a separate location on that same day was smuggling 14 migrants.
According to authorities, the fake FedEx vans bore a striking resemblance to the real trucks, complete with meticulously painted white exteriors and famous FedEx logos. The drivers were even dressed in iconic black and purple uniforms to complete their disguise. (Related: Smuggling network caught using fake FedEx vans to smuggle migrants past US border patrol checkpoints.)
These cases are also happening at the U.S.-Canada border. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data has revealed a surge of more than 6,400 migrant encounters at the northern border between October 2022 and June 2023, up from the approximately 1,200 encounters during the entire fiscal year of 2022.
This isn’t the first time that human smugglers have used unusual techniques to transport migrants across into the territory of the United States. According to Sean Coffey, a Border Patrol agent with extensive experience in the field, the use of fake FedEx vans hasn’t been used in recent years.
In his interview, Coffey said smugglers would often put deceptive stickers on the vehicles to create the illusion of legitimacy, attempting to mimic company transports.
Brandon’s soft immigration policies lead to surge in smuggling activities
Experts handling and analyzing the smuggling cases in the Blain station acknowledged the incidents, but put the blame on the failures of the Brandon administration’s immigration policies for the increasing cases of smuggling activities.
Jason Allen, the president of the National Border Patrol Council in the Blaine, Spokane and Havre chapters, noted many sectors have been impacted by the nationwide surge in illegal immigration. His chapters cover areas in the states of Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Montana.
“It is no surprise that with such an increase in smuggling attempts, there is a corresponding increase in vehicle seizures,” Allen said. “Cartels are sophisticated organizations that are constantly attempting to exploit any vulnerability, whether that is on the northern or southern border.”
Meanwhile, a former Border Patrol agent with experience in the Blaine sector pointed out that the absence of barriers and fences contributed to the increasing smuggling activities there. He also noted that lack of personnel and outdated technology hinder the ability of the agency to effectively patrol the area.
Moreover, the former agent stated that the geographical terrain of the Blaine sector, ranging from beaches to mountainous regions, makes it more accessible to illegal crossings. The proximity of cities to the border also enables illegal aliens to blend in swiftly, complicating enforcement efforts.