In the face of what is arguably a migration crisis, President Obama has issued an Executive Action protecting a potential 4.3 million illegal immigrants from the threat of deportation, by changing priorities for deportation to exclude those who have spent more than 10 years in the country, or who entered as minors before 2010.
Immigrants are deeply rooted in the economy of the US and have been for centuries. In the state of California, a recent study found that the illegal workforce contributes $130 billion annually to the state’s GDP. Yet since 2011, the rate of deportation has been increasing exponentially. Under the Obama administration, the US has removed nearly 2 million people, and returned more than 1.6 million more, the highest of any Presidency.
Driven by desperation, people from Mexico and the Northern Triangle of Latin American states – Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – have been trying to enter the USA in increasing numbers. According to data provided by the US Customs and Borders Protection Service, more than 60,000 children have crossed the Southern Border of the US in the first nine months of 2014, more than double the number that arrived in the previous year. The number of families arriving at the border, consisting of mostly mothers with infants and toddlers, has increased in similar proportions. 
The UN estimates that between 60-75% of illegal immigration into the US is facilitated by a migrant smuggling network – a virulent criminal enterprise that is generating upwards of $6.75 billion for organized crime groups globally. Charging between $4,000 – $10,000 per person, per attempt, migrant smugglers prey on vulnerability, proliferating lies and false hope. 
Given the current volatility of the migrant situation, how will the Executive Action impact human trafficking and smuggling? How is the decision being messaged south of the border? Will this further escalate criminal syndicates facilitating human trafficking and smuggling?
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