As President Donald Trump battles to end illegal immigration, authorities continue to confront threats on the border. More than a few citizens and outsiders aid in the smuggling and trafficking of people into the United States. One scheme had been going on for many years, involving the help of American soldiers. But at least one of the ringleaders is finally forced to face the music.
One of the biggest challenges in enforcing the border is keeping out those who had been deported. We can catch aliens and send them away as much as we want. But if the border continues to remain unsecured, they can sneak back inside, whenever they please.
Our porous Southern border has been a magnet for undocumented immigrants for years. During the Obama administration, things only got worse. His policies weakened our ability to enforce our immigration laws. “Catch and release,” as well as other loopholes, allowed people who entered illegally to stick around.
A man who had entered the United States illegally, but was deported, continued to operate within the country. He was even able to smuggle more people into America. Not only that, his lucrative business attracted the help of American soldiers who used their influence to easily welcome undocumented immigrants.
Now, this man is finally getting the justice he deserves.
A federal judge sent a Mexican man in the country illegally to prison Wednesday for his role in a human smuggling operation that involved U.S. soldiers, authorities said.
Victoriano Zamora-Jasso, 54, was sentenced to 21 months in prison for supplying undocumented immigrants to an individual who worked with U.S. soldiers to smuggle them further into the country, according to the Department of Justice. Zamora-Jasso illegally resided in Houston and is expected to be deported soon.
Records show Zamora-Jasso was deported in 2013, but returned to Texas. He was indicted in 2016 and arrested last year near Houston…
Officials said that between March and September 2014, Zamoria-Jasso provided undocumented immigrants to Arnold Gracia, 48, who then made arrangements for the individuals to pass an internal U.S. checkpoint.
Four U.S. soldiers carried out the smuggling, authorities said, which occurred at an immigration checkpoint in Sarita, Texas. Brandon Troy Robbins, 24, of San Antonio, Eric Alexander Rodriguez, 25, of Odem, Yashira Perez-Morales, 28, of Watertown, N.Y., and Christopher David Wix, 24, of Abilene were convicted for their roles.
Officials said the four were recruited by Gracia as active duty soldiers stationed at Fort Hood. [Source: Dallas News]
It’s pretty scary to think the men tasked to protect our country would so easily betray it. Numerous U.S. soldiers are stationed at the border. They assist Border Patrol in securing the border, making sure no one gets into America illegally.
But these four soldiers were recruited by a human smuggler. Imagine how easy it would have been to sneak people over the border when you have people on the inside looking the other way.
According to reports, these soldiers hid aliens under military gear as they transported them across checkpoints. Naturally, Border agents wouldn’t have checked these vehicles. They trusted that these soldiers weren’t up to anything illegal.
That was an ugly betrayal of trust.
Gracia, the apparent ring-leader of the scheme, was given 73 months in prison. The four soldiers were convicted of their crimes, received probation, and one to two-year prison sentences.
Victoriano Zamora-Jasso, for his part, will serve out his time in prison, before being deported once again.
But the question remains, will he stay out of the country for good? Or will he be able to find his way back in?
And how many more schemes like this are going on under our noses? Small groups like this can operate under the radar — in some cases for years. During that time, they can smuggle hundreds, if not thousands, of people across the border.
Can we be assured that this is the only smuggling-ring using soldiers for cover? Or are others betraying their oaths of service?