US high school campus
The law would see the creation of an educational campaign in high schools and middle schools located within 100 miles of the southern border Marilli

Two U.S. lawmakers introduced this week a bipartisan bill seeking to use proceedings from cartel seizures to fund awareness campaigns about the dangers of becoming involved in human smuggling operations.

The bill, introduced by Gabe Vasquez (a Democrat from New Mexico) and Doug Lambon (a Republican from Colorado) comes after news of several U.S teens dying while driving cars with undocumented migrants or attempting to smuggle drugs from border cities further into the U.S., according to Border Report.

"Teens in El Paso and New Mexico are enticed to transport migrants, with the recruiting taking place through social media apps and word-of-mouth," explained a deep-dive explained by Border Report late last year. The main reason for this? "The lack of punishment or prosecution with regards to the minors in New Mexico," according to Sunland Park Police Chief Eric Lopez.

When smuggling operations fail, the outlet added, gang members cross the border to get their money back, something that can involved robberies and assault.

"I've heard directly from families, educators and law enforcement about the predatory recruitment of minors to facilitate illegal smuggling of drugs and people," said Gabe Vasquez when discussing the bill.

"Every student deserves a childhood free from manipulation and fear. This bill provides the education needed in our border communities to counter predatory smugglers and cartel activity."

The law would see the creation of an educational campaign in high schools and middle schools located within 100 miles of the southern border. It would be crafted by law enforcement agencies, educators and community organizers, and and funded by cash and property seizures from criminal organizations.

Law enforcement and school organizations in New Mexico support the initiative. "As educators, we should be doing everything in our power to protect them from the harmful influence of criminal organizations," said Whitney Holland, president of the state's American Federation of Teachers.

Border Report recounted last December how "transnational criminal organizations are sowing terror in Juarez, Mexico, and extending their tentacles into West Texas and Southern New Mexico." The outlet described "hundreds of cases involving migrant smuggling, migrant kidnapping and extortion, arrest in connection to stash houses, drug couriers and weapons smugglers, and almost daily seizures or narcotics at U.S. ports of entry."

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