The need to enter the U.S. to escape persecution or violence has not diminished in the face of “zero tolerance” for immigrants. It has only made immigrants’ need more desperate.

Human traffickers deal in people, by definition. They are also capitalists. Where demand goes up, their level of “service” rises accordingly. This administration’s zero tolerance policy creates that demand. In response, organized crime, which includes drug cartels, traffickers and corrupt cops, is expanding.

To continue this analogy, simple economics tells us Increased demand also drives up prices. The cost for clandestine passage into the US for migrants from Central America has soared from $6,000 to $8,000 a couple of years ago to about $12,000 today, according to Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor at Georgetown University and an expert on organized crime and immigration.

If the migrants can’t afford their fees, the criminals have a solution. They move people across the border into forced labor or sex rings. The smuggling turns into trafficking.

The policy is funding these terrible crimes. The money collected from the migrants helps pay for sophisticated smuggling networks involving drivers, guides, stash houses, corrupt local police and people with links to criminal organizations.

Ironically, the Trump Administration has promoted its infamous border wall as part of his strategy to stop drug cartels. Basic research tells us the existing sections of border wall pose no effective barrier to them. Instead, his ill-conceived policies devastate people in crisis and enrich those who profit from migrants’ desperation.

If you know someone who is the victim of human trafficking and/or they are in deportation proceedings, Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. can help them explore their legal options. Call (510) 756-4468 for a free evaluation.