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DHS to prevent companies associated with smuggling from obtaining insurance

DHS to prevent companies associated with smuggling from obtaining insurance
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Tuesday announced an expansion to its anti-human smuggling operation with a new partnership that seeks to prevent companies associated with smuggling from obtaining insurance for their commercial operations. 

The joint effort by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a network of more than 1,200 insurance companies, will fall under the Biden administration's Operation Sentinel targeting transnational criminal organizations involved in smuggling migrants, according to a CBP press release. 

CBP said Tuesday that through the partnership, the agency will determine if a company or individual is involved in smuggling operations, after which NICB will tell its member companies that the corporation or person should be suspended or barred from receiving insurance. 

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The effort comes as CBP said it is looking to investigate “whether to exclude from Federal programs, through actions such as suspension and/or debarment, any such persons who are not presently responsible,” according to the press release

Troy Miller, the acting CBP commissioner, said in the release, “Ensuring smuggling organizations are not able to do business with the U.S. government will severely limit their ability to operate.”

“Our partnership with NICB will broaden the reach of each government action by informing insurance companies of the debarred organizations,” he added.  

NICB President and CEO David Glawe, who also served as DHS undersecretary for intelligence under the Trump administration, said Tuesday that NICB “has a long history of partnering with CBP, and we welcome the opportunity to expand on that relationship to aid with ongoing investigations targeting Transnational Organized Crime.” 

“We look forward to working with [Homeland] Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas and Commissioner Miller to extend the reach of their efforts in targeting organizations affiliated with the smuggling of migrants,” Glawe added. 

Operation Sentinel, unveiled by DHS in April, includes anti-human smuggling efforts led by CBP, with the help of the FBI, State Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as law enforcement agencies in Mexico and Central America.

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Mayorkas when announcing the operation said the effort is intended to “disrupt every facet of the logistical network” smuggling operations “use to succeed.” 

"We know all too well these organizations put profit over human life with devastating consequences," the secretary said on a call with reporters at the time. 

The effort comes amid Vice President Harris’s trip to Guatemala and Mexico. Harris has highlighted the Biden administration’s creation of a new task force to combat human trafficking and smuggling groups in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.