Chad Wolf vows to confront the gangs behind illegal drugs, guns and migrants

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, in an exclusive interview with Fox News while touring the border just days after taking the helm at DHS, detailed what he described as an urgent and “exciting” plan to go after the gangs fueling the flow of illegal migrants, weapons and drugs across the southern border.

“The TCOs and cartels, they control the southern side of the border — they have to be paid, they have to be compensated for any of these large flows coming across the border,” he told Fox News. “You eliminate that and you eliminate their ability to recruit in Central America and bring these folks up.”

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“TCO” refers to transnational criminal organizations, a term covering both the murderous drug-running cartels that have plagued Mexico as well as other gangs responsible for smuggling operations at the border. The Trump administration has prioritized going after these organizations, last year labeling groups ranging from MS-13 to the Sinaloa Cartel as top TCO threats.

Wolf’s warning hinted that the new secretary, among other tactics, intends to go after the gangs’ cash flow.

While Wolf doesn’t think that the issue of TCOs had been ignored previously, he says the fight is going to need more resources from the government. He also noted that issues that his predecessor Kevin McAleenan had pushed, such as the fight against so-called child recycling at the border, were part of that battle against the gangs and cartels.

“So when we talk about TCOs, it’s not only them facilitating the flow of migrants to the border, it’s also drugs, weapons and a lot of the violence,” he said. “So targeting TCOs in a real way … is something that I will certainly push and work on from a DHS perspective, but we’ll also be working in the larger interagency to really start targeting these groups, because once you start eliminating their ability to bring migrants and the like, then I think you’ll start seeing a different dynamic.”

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“The department already has a number resources dedicated to that, I think we can do more, we are doing more and I think the U.S. government overall can do more and that’s the exciting part of this job,” he said.

Wolf’s appointment comes at a crucial time for the administration. After facing an unprecedented migrant crisis at the border earlier in the year, the administration has taken a series of measures to stem the flow – pushing through numerous asylum reforms, ramping up border wall construction, and striking deals with countries south of the border to overhaul where asylum seekers are processed.

“The department already has a number resources dedicated to that, I think we can do more, we are doing more and I think the U.S. government overall can do more and that’s the exciting part of this job,” he said.

Wolf’s appointment comes at a crucial time for the administration. After facing an unprecedented migrant crisis at the border earlier in the year, the administration has taken a series of measures to stem the flow – pushing through numerous asylum reforms, ramping up border wall construction, and striking deals with countries south of the border to overhaul where asylum seekers are processed.

Wolf says he wants to continue the administration’s current approach – and is keen to keep Congress’ feet to the fire on getting measures passed that help control the border. In addition to more funding for CBP and ICE, DHS wants Congress to pass three legislative changes: a change to the Flores settlement that limits how long minors can be kept in custody; an increase of the initial “credible fear” standard for asylum cases; and a fix that allows unaccompanied children from Central America to be treated the same as those from Mexico.

Overall, the Wolf DHS appears set to keep the administration’s hard-line on illegal immigration, and continue those policies that have seen apprehensions drop in recent months – despite the fierce criticisms coming from Democrats and immigrant advocacy groups.

“So we’ll continue to look at MPP, we’ll continue to look at international agreements we have, try and do more with Mexico and the like,” he said. “And there are some other programs the department is looking at to help manage that crisis, root out that fraud in the asylum system that I think we all acknowledge is there, and to make sure those folks that need the protection get the protection, and those that don’t, don’t remain in the U.S. — that if they have no legal right to be here, then they shouldn’t be here.”

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One response

  1. Clean Em Out, Is The Answer! The Demosnotrat’s, Want The Criminal Activity; Otherwise They Would Be In Line With Cleaning Them All Out!

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