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U.S. to blacklist executives of travel agencies, tour operators aiding illegal migration – UPI.com

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U.S. to blacklist executives of travel agencies, tour operators aiding illegal migration – UPI.com

Migrants walk along the United States side of the border wall with Mexico to surrender to the U.S. Border Patrol near Campo, Calif., on March 13. The State Department on Tuesday expanded a visa-restriction policy to target travel agencies and tour operators that facilitate irregular migration. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
Migrants walk along the United States side of the border wall with Mexico to surrender to the U.S. Border Patrol near Campo, Calif., on March 13. The State Department on Tuesday expanded a visa-restriction policy to target travel agencies and tour operators that facilitate irregular migration. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

July 10 (UPI) — The United States said it will bar entry to executives of travel agencies and tour operators that are offering services to bring migrants into the country illegally, as the Biden administration expands a program unveiled late last year to punish those facilitating and profiting off illegal migration.

“Today, the U.S. expanded its visa-restriction policy to target travel agency executives and tour operators who exploit vulnerable migrants and facilitate irregular migration. Those seeking to come to the U.S. should use safe and lawful pathways,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Tuesday on X.

“No one should profit from migrants.”

The State Department first announced the visa-restriction policy in November, targeting executives of flight companies charging migrants extortion prices to fly them to the United States from Nicaragua.

Then in February, it announced a policy superseding the initial program to bar entry not only executives of charter flight companies, but those operating ground and maritime transportation firms, with Tuesday’s move being another punitive expansion.

Issues with illegal migration has plagued President Joe Biden through much of his presidency, and his administration initially unveiled the visa-restriction policy among several others amid soaring encounters at the southern border.

Since then, the measures have contributed to a drop in encounters, according to data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which states that May saw some 170,700 encounters, the fewest for that month in the last three years.

Late last month, the Department of Homeland Security said an order Biden made in early June limiting migrant asylum entries has also led to a 40% drop in unlawful border crossings in the last three weeks.

The State Department has employed its punitive powers under the visa-restriction policy, most recently mid-June when it blacklisted an unnamed executive of a charter flight company.

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