Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, blasted President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in a graphic new video released late Monday that shows the shocking effects of the drug cartels on the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The video opens on a caravan of high-profile vehicles traveling at night and moves to images of groups of illegal immigrants walking along the roadway in the darkness.
"These children come in, in debt to vicious cartels — thousands and thousands of dollars," Cruz says in the video. "And the teenage boys work for the gangs in every city in America. And the teenage girls experience a hell worse than that, with far too many of them human-trafficked into sex slavery."
"Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are responsible for the worst plague of slavery in America since the Civil War," he charged. "This is not compassionate. This is not humane. This is barbaric."
The video then shows images of the bodies of migrants who did not survive, including one seemingly of a parent and child lying face down in water at the shore's edge.
The disturbing montage ends with the statement, "Abolish the narco slave trade."
In the caption for the video, Cruz said, "President Biden doesn't want Americans to know that he has been ignoring the narco slave trade taking place along our southern border."
Immigrants who made it across the southern border told Noticias Telemundo Investiga that drug cartels kidnap families both before they attempt to cross the border and after they are expelled.
Once kidnapped, migrants are often forced into cars at gunpoint and told to unlock their cellphones. If they refuse, the cartels threaten to cut off a finger.
The abductors extort money from victims' family members, first threatening beatings or rape and then using the victims' phones to send photos of the victims after the threats have been acted on.
Researcher Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera told NBC News that the immigrants do not report attacks by the cartels.
"They don't report them because they threaten them if they do so, and they don't know who to turn to," Correa-Cabrera said. "Most kidnappers have ties to the authorities, so it's virtually impossible that they'll take action against them. It is the perfect business."
After the Biden administration said it would not rapidly expel unaccompanied minors, Reuters reported that approximately 10,000 children illegally crossed into the United States by themselves in February, 2021, which was almost twice the number that crossed the month before, according to Customs and Border Protection data.
Three human smugglers told Reuters they have been encouraging parents to send their children to the U.S.-Mexico border alone due to the shift in U.S. policy.
"It's good to take advantage of the moment, because children are able to pass quickly," Daniel, a Guatemalan smuggler told the news outlet. "That's what we're telling everyone."
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