Eight more Bangladeshi nationals have been caught trying to sneak into the U.S. through the Laredo Port of Entry in the past week, bringing to 230 the number of illegal immigrants from the historically impoverished south Asian nation who have been apprehended at that one border crossing just in the last few months, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Mark Jones, who is an expert on immigration at Rice University, tells News Radio 1200 WOAI this is sign of the Mexican cartels expanding their reach.
“Its the same smugglers, they just hit them up at the Mexico City airport, and from there, its the exact same route.”
Tightening border security has empowered the Mexican drug cartels to move big time into human smuggling, as the security has made it virtually impossible for individuals to cross the Rio Grande and walk into the U.S. unchallenged, along the traditional immigration routes to Houston and San Antonio.
Jones says the cartels have established a system where Mexican officials and police and, as we saw with deadly results in San Antonio last summer, U.S. truck drivers are paid off to help smuggle the illegals into Texas. As the urgency to sneak into the U.S. spreads worldwide, Jones says it is a simple matter for the cartels to open those routes to illegals from around the world, providing they have the $3,000 to $8,000 price.
“If they can utilize their existing smuggling networks to bring in people form Bangladesh, they are happy to do it,” Jones said. “I’m sure they are even able to charge more to Bangladeshis.”
He says the global illegal immigrants frequently use the Laredo port of entry because it is the busiest inland port in North America, with thousands of container ships crossing the Rio Grande every day.
The Bangladeshi case highlights what Texas State Demographer Lloyd Potter has been predicting for months; the growth of Asian illegal immigrants to Texas, as a time when Mexico, which has been the prime source of immigration to the state since 1910, actually slows.
In fact, Potter says in many metro areas of Texas, most notably Houston, there are more Asians among recent immigrants, both legal and illegal, than Mexicans.
Indeed, immigrants from Central America have been the the most numerous of the Latin American illegals for the past four years. Those numbers are expected to be supplemented by Venezuelans as chaos on that previously wealthy country is prompting thousands of people to flee daily.
But immigrants from all parts of Asia, from the impoverished southern part of the continent, to Muslims fleeing endless violence in west Asia, to immigrants from populous China, are all becoming more numerous in Texas, officials say.