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  1. #1
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    Mexican cartels seize control of US government's CBP One app

    Mexican cartels seize control of US government's CBP One app

    Story by Anna Giaritelli •4h

    August 4, 2023

    EXCLUSIVE — The Mexican government is allowing any immigrant who enters the country from Guatemala to continue traveling to the United States border if they have obtained an appointment on the U.S. government's CBP One phone app, the Washington Examiner has learned.

    The move would seem to be in the interest of the United States. However, Mexican cartels have hacked the app's security and found a way to request unlimited appointments for anyone in the world — far beyond the app's "northern Mexico" geofence.


    "It’s further evidence as this administration continues to try to come up with a new security paradigm along that border that I don't think they really understand it.

    They don't understand the lengths and depths the cartels will continue to go to," said Chad Wolf, former acting Department of Homeland Security secretary. "As the administration continues to put these 'legal pathways' into place, that's music to the cartel's ears."

    An extensive investigation that included a review of unclassified, internal DHS documents and communications revealed that the Mexican government's National Immigration Institute earlier this summer ordered its immigration officials to turn away all non-Mexican citizens who do not have a CBP One app appointment, according to one of the documents. Officers set up checkpoints in the southern state of Chiapas and have conducted arrests at these encounters.

    Mexican immigration agents stop people who crossed the Suchiate River, the natural border between Guatemala and Mexico, to see their identification documents as they enforce limits on all but essential travel near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Monday, March 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo) Eduardo Verdugo/APŠ Provided by Washington Examiner

    Cartels, though, have turned the app on its head and used Mexico's policy to its advantage by overpowering the app and are raking in profits from any immigrant who wishes to enter Mexico. Once immigrants show up at the Guatemala-Mexico or in Chiapas, the INM will let them proceed.

    "Mexico will certainly let people through if they have an appointment, they're sort of counting that as a de facto transit visa," said Adam Isacson, director of defense oversight for the progressive immigrant advocacy organization the Washington Office for Latin America. "It's sabotage and they know very well that people can't normally get an appointment unless they're north of Mexico City."

    Cartels have been selling immigrants a service that provides them with an Internet connection through a virtual private network (VPN) that is able to override a server so that the app cannot tell if the individual is in Northern Mexico.

    Josh Trevino, chief of intelligence and research for the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation think tank, said the operation has allowed the cartels to cash in, potentially with kickbacks to the Mexican government.

    "The Mexican requirement is a cash cow. It's a cash grab," said Trevino. "The Mexicans — they're not really partners, they're neighbors."

    People waiting to apply for asylum stand in front or a sign for the CBP One app as they camp near the pedestrian entrance to the San Isidro Port of Entry, linking Tijuana, Mexico with San Diego, Thursday, June 1, 2023, in Tijuana, Mexico. U.S. authorities raised the number of people allowed to enter the country with an online app allows asylum-seekers to enter the country with appointments to 1,250 a day from 1,000 though demand still far outstrips supply. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) Gregory Bull/APŠ Provided by Washington Examiner

    Smugglers openly advertise their VPN services in southern Mexico and on social media, according to a DHS intelligence document and advertisements reviewed by the Washington Examiner. Social media advertisements have been especially conducive to recruiting Haitians, Cubans, and Hondurans.

    Immigrants outside Mexico have new hope to make the journey north after a two-month downturn in illegal immigration apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border in May and June as the Biden administration threatened more severe consequences for immigrants who enter the country illegally rather than through its app or other legal pathways.

    Related video: How cartels are preying on migrants, banking billions on the border (FOX News)

    View on Watch

    The emergence of the VPNs may be a contributing factor for the 30% increase in border encounters by U.S. authorities in July, which the Washington Post reported this week had suddenly gone up since early May despite the summer historically being a slow time.

    Since the Biden administration debuted the CBP One app in January, immigrants south of Mexico City had no reason to believe they would find a legal way to get into the U.S. if they crossed illegally.

    Migrants rest near La Lima in southern Veracruz state, Mexico, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021.

    The Mexican government has recently opted for a new strategy to relieve pressure on Tapachula, the city on its southern border with Guatemala where tens of thousands of migrants accumulate, and to deactivate the caravans that have emerged in recent months: providing humanitarian visas and offering transfers to other states. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez) Felix Marquez/APŠ Provided by Washington Examiner

    The app’s addition of more appointment time slots per day in late spring was bad news for corporation-sized cartels who profit billions of dollars each month moving people and drugs over the border, charging anywhere from $3,000 to $50,000 depending on the distance.

    The app's geofencing parameters complicated the cartels' ability to get immigrants into Mexico and cut into their bottom line.

    Cartels soon discovered the app was easily penetrable and its security measures were weak. It also meant that cartels could charge immigrants for an additional fee to hack the app if they wanted a guaranteed ticket into Mexico, further enticing more people outside Mexico to travel to the U.S.

    "Pinning the faith on a smartphone app is sort of like peak Beltway disconnect," said Trevino. "This is a classic example of why the tactical solutions ultimately don't work because there's constantly workarounds to them."

    One DHS source with firsthand knowledge of how the department has handled the discovery said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and CBP Senior Official Performing the Duties of Commissioner Troy Miller expressed concern, but have not yet put forth a plan to combat it.

    CBP did not directly answer the Washington Examiner's questions about the cartels' use of VPNs, whether it would address the major vulnerability in the app, or senior leadership's knowledge on the matter.

    "CBP has made updates to the CBP One™ application to both improve functionality and enhance security," said a CBP official. "CBP is continually evaluating the application to ensure its functionality and guard against bad actors who may try to exploit this technology."

    One such update in early May prioritized immigrants who had been waiting the longest for appointments, CBP said.

    "CBP could fix this if they wanted by just having the app read the GPS reading on the phone and not the location of the server that it's connected to," Isacson said.
    Trevino said the Biden administration needs a strategic solution to the border crisis, not a tactical one.

    House Majority Leader Steve Scalise's (R-LA) office said the Washington Examiner investigation into "horrifying results of Biden's open border policies" underscore why legislative action was needed.


    "This is why House Republicans passed our Secure the Border Act earlier this year, which cracks down on cartels and the abuse of CBP One," said a spokeswoman for Scalise in an email. "There is no excuse for the Senate to continue to block this legislation from receiving a vote, and they should pass it immediately.”

    Mexico's INM did not respond to a request for comment.

    Tags: Border Security, News, Mexico, Customs and Border Protection, Cartel, Crime, Immigration

    Original Author: Anna Giaritelli

    Original Location: Mexican cartels seize control of US government's CBP One app
    Last edited by Beezer; 08-04-2023 at 07:47 AM.


  2. #2
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    Apr 2016
    We need to knock out cell service in Mexico and shut that damn Biden Human Trafficking App down!

    Biden, Harris, and Mayorkas have ceded our country over to the CCP, corrupt Mexico and the terrorist drug cartel.

    This is a direct national security threat, and health threat due to diseases pouring over our border, to our Nation for what they have done! It is costing us BILLIONS of our tax dollars.

    Our military needs to step in and put these three Traitors in Gitmo for Treason, Sedition and the RICO Act enriching the drug cartel making them billions off of human trafficking. The man behind the curtain, Obama, is calling the shots!

    Where are the visitor records at Rehoboth Beach and the White House? Soros has been there many times, his evil sons, and Obama.

    This entire administration is a disgrace and needs to be dismantled.


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