U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents discovered 23 illegal aliens inside a semitractor-trailer on Wednesday night. Agents in the Tuscon Sector made the discovery on Route 80 near mile marker 371 following an immigration-related traffic stop.
Two U.S. citizens, both juveniles, were arrested in the smuggling incident, along with 22 Mexican nationals and one Guatemalan national, ranging from 16 to 69 years of age. According to CBP, the two U.S. citizens and one Mexican national with a history of extensive immigration violations were arrested. The other migrants were expelled from the U.S. via Title 42 authority.
Under Title 42, President Trump has prohibited the introduction of certain persons and or property into the U.S. that may further spread the Wuhan coronavirus. People apprehended and subject to this order are not held for processing but immediately expelled to their country of last transit. According to CBP, Title 42 expulsions are tracked separately from enforcement actions, like apprehensions and inadmissibility to enter the country.
After noticing the trend in youths participating in cartel activities, Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent Alan Regalado began the T.E.A.M. program, or the "Together Educating and Mentoring Kids" program, to educate and warn youths about the activities of border recruiters.
"Criminal organizations target vulnerable populations, including the youth in border communities, to facilitate human and narcotics smuggling. Tucson Sector Border Patrol fights to combat this dangerous trend through information and education geared towards children and their parents via the T.E.A.M. Kids Program," CBP said in a press release.
Semitractor-trailers remain a popular tool among human smugglers. In June, CBP agents in California foiled an elaborate human smuggling attempt involving a semi-truck and hay bales. CBP says there's been no slow down in human smuggling activity during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.