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(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
3:00 PM – Sunday, February 4, 2024

A recent report shows that a migrant gang based in New Jersey is paying $6,000 per person to smuggle large amounts of undocumented immigrants into the United States through the Canadian border.

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According to a report published by Daily Mail, a well-known people-smuggling organization headed by undocumented migrants who began entering the country illegally in 2019 and are now charging $6,000 per person to bring others into the United States.

After being freed by ICE, a number of the migrants relocated to New Jersey, where they currently operate the gang. 

According to the report, the ringleaders were migrants from Guatemala and Colombia who sneaked across the Mexican border to establish themselves in New Jersey. There, they ran the profitable scheme while dodging authorities.

The Jersey-based gang is credited with igniting an under-the-radar surge in border crossings while United States Border Patrol agents struggle with an overwhelming influx of asylum seekers from Mexico, the outlet reported.

“With the huge asylum-seeker concentrations and with all of those people crossing the border and with the huge increase in the amount of enforcement that is going on on the southern border, it is probably, if you have an option, a lot easier to try to get in without inspection across the Canadian border,” said Philip Kasinitz, a CUNY Graduate Center immigration studies professor stated.

Additionally, the Daily Mail reported that the smugglers of migrants are making the most of this situation by offering a large reward for smuggling people out of Quebec and into Vermont, where there is less intense surveillance.

Elmer Bran-Galvez, an alleged smuggler’s driver, was reportedly stopped by border guards in Franklin, Vermont, in June while carrying four illegal immigrants. He explained to authorities that he was paid about $1,800 for each illegal passenger, but he wasn’t charged, the outlet stated.

An indication of the massive influx across the northern border was the fact that over 10,000 migrants were arrested last year while attempting to enter the United States illegally from Canada, which is nearly five times the number expected in 2022.

Even though federal authorities eventually apprehended two of the New Jersey gang’s leaders, Jhon Reina-Perez, 34, and Victor Lopez-Padilla, 35, the migration flow has not slowed down.

In order to gain entry into the United States more easily, migrants may choose to travel to Mexico as it is listed as a “visa-exempt” country by Canada, if they have the funds to do so.

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