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    Immigrants walk along the rail tracks after getting off a train during their journey toward the US-Mexico border in Ixtepec, southern Mexico

    Treasury Sanctions Syria-Based Group for "Smuggling" Immigrants to US via Mexico

    © East News / Eduardo Verdugo/AP/MXEV115
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    The United States sanctioned a Syria-based national and a criminal organization for smuggling immigrants with false documents the cost $20,000, to the United States, the Treasury said in a press release.

    "The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Syrian national Nasif Barakat and the Barakat Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO). The Barakat TCO is a human smuggling organization based in Homs, Syria, that facilitates the smuggling of Syrian and Lebanese nationals to the United States border using a variety of travel routes," the release said. 

    47-year-old Nasif Barakat, from Syria, has been accused by the US Treasury Department of operating a "global network" involved in illegally transporting people to the US.

    Paying an average of $20,000, migrants are then supplied with false or fraudulently acquired travel documents, such as European passports.

    On route, the migrants from Syria travel via Lebanon, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, before arriving in "certain South and Central American countries" from where they then get to the southwest US border.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that the action follows an executive order from US President Donald Trump to dismantle such gangs.

    "We will continue to use every lawful tool we have to defend our borders, fight alien smuggling, restore legality to our immigration system, and to defund criminals of their ill-gotten gains," he said.

    READ MORE: US Sent National Guard to Mexican Border Amid Upsurge Crossings — Trump's Aide

    In early April, US President Donald Trump announced that the federal government would ask governors from border states to deploy between 2,000 and 4,000 national guard troops to the US-Mexico border to support border patrol agents.

    Tags:
    border, migrants, Syria, Mexico, United States
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