The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy was supposed to stem the flow of migrants by increasing the penalties for crossing the border. But for smugglers, business is better than ever.
Hondurans are seeing and hearing about Trump's immigration efforts on TV, in newspapers, and on the radio. Even the country’s first lady is talking about it — she visited a detention camp in McAllen, Texas, on Monday to meet with families from Honduras, who were detained under the new policy.
But it's unclear if any of this is actually dissuading people from migrating north — or if anything will. VICE News traveled to Honduras, where deportees are arriving by the hundreds — as many as 250 a day — to speak with a human smuggler who has been sneaking people into the U.S. for the Gulf Cartel for years.
He says that despite Trump's best efforts, business is doing just fine.
"It hasn't had an effect. If anything, it has favored us," said the smuggler, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Alejandro. "Because thousands more people have decided to go, because they say it's all a lie and fake propaganda from many news outlets to stop the immigration flow."
The immigrants are "people who want to get ahead, who don't know what else to do in this country, people who have nothing left," he added.
And with the country's gang violence showing no sign of stopping, the flow of immigrants also seems unlikely to stop any time soon.
This segment originally aired July 3, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.