2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Honduran migrant families try to reach the US 2/2
By Mimi Dwyer LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The United States is launching an operation to identify and target human smugglers, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday, as the Biden administration grapples with a record number of migrants arriving in southern border of the United States. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement that Operation Sentinel would seek to block the ability of smugglers to engage in “travel, trade and finance” in the United States. The operation will aim to identify smugglers and direct their activities by revoking travel documents, suspending business entities and freezing financial assets, DHS said. DHS said smugglers “pose a significant danger to migrants,” noting that border patrol agents had found the bodies of 250 migrants who died en route to the United States in fiscal year 2020. Migrants from Central America and other places often use smugglers to travel to the border. and they are prone to extortion, kidnapping and other forms of violence. Approximately 168,000 people were detained by US Border Patrol agents at the US-Mexico border in March, the highest monthly count since March 2001.