Mexican People Smugglers Celebrate the End of Trump and Say Biden Immigrant Surge Is Already Underway
Notorious people smuggler tells The Daily Beast he can’t wait for the Biden era as President Trump really took a toll on his business.
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico—On Election Day, around 30 undocumented immigrants, mostly from Central America, crowded into a small room at the back of a house near the U.S.-Mexican border belonging to ‘El Cuate,’ a prolific people smuggler. They were following the news carefully, as they all believed their futures depended on the outcome.
During the last days of his campaign, Biden pledged “there will not be another foot of wall constructed” during his administration after he takes office in January.
Biden also planned to implement a 100-day freeze on deportations, prioritize the deportation of immigrants with criminal convictions, and to end the policy of making hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers remain in Mexico, according to CBS News.
These reports and the demise of President Trump have left immigrants and smugglers at the border celebrating the election result and expecting more lenient measures on border security.
‘El Cuate,’ who declined to give his real name, is one of them. He is hoping Biden will continue Obama’s border enforcement policies.
“We think he will not be as harsh as Trump, so we could go back to Obama times where we could get a lot of people across. At least it was not as hard as it is with Trump,” he told The Daily Beast.
Near the stash house, other smugglers feel the same way.
“We’ve been living off of [smuggling] for years. And I don’t remember another time where the border was so difficult for people to get across. It’s not only difficult for us, but the people are risking their lives and only because of Trump’s wall and Trump’s agents,” one of them said.
Another young smuggler showed The Daily Beast a message he recently wrote for President Trump on his own wall: “Tron culon, pinche muro nos pela la verga,” which could be translated as ”Asshole Trump your fucking wall sucks our dicks.”
During his administration Trump built 400 miles of a new border wall system along the border with Mexico and grew the number of Border Patrol agents, impacting directly the number of immigrants in search of a new life in the U.S. Under Trump, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) interior arrests increased although they never reached the heights of Obama’s first term.
‘El Cuate’—or ‘The Twin’—said Trump took a toll on his illegal work. Year after year, since Trump took office, he complained that fewer people came to him trying to make it illegally into the U.S.
“They were discouraged. They knew they will get across, but they were gonna have to spend a lot of time in a stash house in Mexico before making it to the promised land.”
But as elections approached the number of illegal immigrants arrested at the U.S. Southwest border rose to a 13-month high during September, and almost doubled by the end of October, according to Border Patrol Statistics.
Border Patrol spokesman Mario Escalante confirmed a spike in the numbers of illegal immigrants arriving at the border, but played down the “elections factor.”
“People think of these factors, as if they would change anything. They think of elections or COVID or economics, but they will always give it a try, because that’s how it is, and we will keep doing our job.”
María and Jorge, two young Ecuadorians, who declined to give their full names, are paying ‘El Cuate’ to be illegally smuggled into El Paso, Texas. They started their journey counting on a change in the White House.
“We are not really relying on Biden, we are putting our faith in Trump’s exit. We know we will still be illegal immigrants, but we hope the new president won’t be as racist and abusive as Trump,” said María.
“We started this journey because of the terrible situation in Ecuador, violence, corruption and poverty. But we definitely hope for some positive change [in the U.S.] that could at least keep us safe,” added Jorge.
On Oct. 1, hundreds of Hondurans formed a caravan headed towards the United States, raising alarms for both Mexican and American governments.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador suspected the migrant caravan was a direct consequence of the U.S. presidential race and ordered the military to block the caravan on the country’s southern border.
“It’s a matter that I believe is linked to the U.S. election”, said Obrador during a press conference.
But his intervention isn’t discouraging migrants from making their way north, even if it is in smaller numbers.
“Many of the people that are arriving think they’ll have a better chance with a new president. I think that’s the difference from other years. In past years by these months we would have 30 or 40 immigrants stashed tops, but this year is different, I have more than 80 immigrants stashed myself,” said ‘El Cuate’.
Biden is set to take office in January and ‘El Cuate’ along with some thousands of immigrants will be watching closely. For many of them a change of policy on immigration would be a breath of fresh air.
“I don’t know why [Trump] is doing this, these people are only getting across to work. It’s good for me, good for the immigrants and good for the U.S., everybody could be happy,” he said.