Migrants are learning to take advantage of President Biden’s immigration policies via social media platforms, according to a new analysis from NBC News.
On platforms like Facebook, human smugglers are advertising their services with posts reading in Spanish: “Travel to Mexico to the United States. Costs $8,000. 100 percent safe, “Cross through Matamoros. You walk one hour, after in automobile until you arrive to your relative.”
According to the analysis, Facebook pages titled “Migrants from Various Countries in Mexico” and “Migrants in the Mexico-U.S.A. Border Awaiting Hearing” made multiple advertising posts a day and received comments from migrants who asked for quotes, contact information, and destinations.
In recent years, the use of social media has proliferated among human smugglers and migrants due to the ability of these platforms to communicate within seconds and being able to connect random users together from all parts of the world.
Talk radio, which was once seen as the dominant method of communication and coordination for migration in Central and South America, has seen a significant decline in these regions.
The State Department has recently revealed that “data shows mobile is the dominant source of media consumption in the region,” and digital ads placed on Facebook and Instagram have reached more than 26 million people since Inauguration Day.”
And, according to Chad Wolf, the former acting head of the Department of Homeland Security under President Trump, “None of the illegal migrants who were interviewed by [Customs and Border Protection] or [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] said the [radio]ads we ran were a critical factor in them making the trip or not.”
Despite this information, the Biden White House still ran thousands of radio ads in Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in Spanish, Portuguese, and six indigenous languages in hopes that it could set the record straight about the southern border.
Social media has become vital for the human smuggling industry and has likely contributed to the significant increases in border apprehensions under the Biden administration.
March’s monthly apprehensions are the largest for a month in 15 years and are close to an 80,000 increase from February’s totals. More than 18,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended in March—a 99 percent increase from February. And more than 53,000 family units were apprehended—a 175 percent increase from February.