A few astute national-security experts have been warning for years that the situation along the nearly 4,000-mile swath of largely unpatrolled U.S.-Canadian border will end up being every bit as dangerous as the southern border with Mexico.
A story out of Detroit this morning is the latest clue that such warnings were not without merit.
Federal authorities announced they had arrested a Guatemalan man who they say was working as a human smuggler, funneling illegal immigrants through an underground railway tunnel between Windsor and Detroit.
U.S. Border Patrol officials allege that Juan Antonio Garcia-Jimenez, a 53-year-old naturalized Canadian citizen from Guatemala, was paid to help five people cross into the United States this year using the nearly 2-mile corridor, according to a report in the Detroit News.
He reportedly drove a Mexican worker to the Ontario opening March 18 and told him when to enter to avoid the trains transporting cargo, but Border Patrol agents apprehended the man while exiting the American side, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
Twice in July, agents caught a pair of laborers leaving the tunnel who all identified Garcia-Jimenez as a smuggler to whom they each paid $1,500 for escort, according to the complaint.
Another reason for concern about the northern border is the fact that Canada, under the socialist government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has since 2015 resettled more than 40,000 Syrian refugees. U.S. immigration officials, including President Obama’s director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Leon Rodriguez, have admitted under congressional questioning that it is impossible to adequately vet many Syrian refugees. Rodriguez admitted in 2016 under questioning from then-U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions that some Syrians were passed through the “rigorous” vetting system based solely on their own personal story, without any law-enforcement data to confirm who they are or what their background is.
“Alien smuggling though this train tunnel is not just unlawful, it can be incredibly dangerous,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement. “Together with our law enforcement partners, we are protecting our borders from those who enter here illegally.”
Authorities in Detroit charged Garcia-Jimenez with bringing in and harboring aliens. Border Patrol agents arrested him Wednesday, Aug. 29.
“Smuggling individuals through the train tunnel is one of the most dangerous methods I have seen in my career, and I could not be more proud of the agents and officers who worked on identifying this individual and finally catching him,” said Douglas Harrison, chief patrol agent for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Detroit sector.
Garcia-Jimenez appeared Wednesday before U.S. District Court Magistrate R. Steven Whalen, who ordered him temporarily detained. He has hired an attorney, likely paid for by the U.S. taxpayer.
A hearing is set for 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, at the federal courthouse in Detroit.