Cancun has been on the “radar screen” for some time, according to a former Customs and Border Protection official, because it has one of Mexico’s major airports with significant international travel. Expanding to Cancun was “long in the works” because US officials had identified it as one of the routes used by people who illegally cross the US southern border, the DHS official added.
When asked about border officials deploying to Cancun, Customs and Border Protection pointed to the Immigration Advisory Program, which was created in 2004 to “prevent terrorists, high-risk and improperly-documented travelers from boarding commercial aircraft destined to the U.S.” The agency later built on that concept and launched the Joint Security Program, working with Mexican law enforcement for a similar mission.
It’s unclear whether there will be a permanent presence in Cancun, the DHS official said. As part of the program, US officials work with the host nation to identify people who are “high risk” for illegal migration and stop them before they go any further.
The US also has doubled down on human smuggling, launching operations focused on dismantling networks and imposing consequences on traffickers.