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Traffickers Using Facebook to Reach Migrant Clients, Giving False Hopes About U.S. Accepting Them

A family from Honduras sits on the ground after they were smuggled on an inflatable raft across the Rio Grande, in Roma, Texas Saturday, March 27, 2021.

Human smugglers are increasingly turning to the social media giant Facebook to fuel false hopes in migrants about immigrating to the U.S. 

NBC News reports they openly promise a "100 percent" safe journey and encourage people that the Biden administration will welcome them.

The Department of Homeland Security says such social media posts spread misinformation and have contributed to the surge at the border.

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"Travel to Mexico to the United States. Costs $8,000. 100 percent safe," reads a recent post written in Spanish. "Cross through Matamoros. You walk one hour, after in automobile until you arrive to your relative."

The Spanish-language posts identified by NBC News were found on public Facebook pages with names like "Migrants from Various Countries in Mexico" and "Migrants in the Mexico-U.S.A. Border Awaiting Hearing."

The pages contained multiple posts a day, including some from apparent smugglers and people from Central America trying to find out more information about how to immigrate to the U.S. 

Facebook took down all of the posts that NBC News showed the company. 

Amy Maldonado, an immigration lawyer, told the network she blamed the Biden administration policy that expels everyone but unaccompanied children. She criticized the policy for encouraging more immigrants to try to cross illegally between ports of entry and to send their children alone.

"I can't imagine how desperate you must be to trust your children to human traffickers," she said.

A spokesperson told NBC that Facebook policy prohibits human exploitation and trafficking and that the company removes such content when it is identified or flagged by users."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg told Congress last month that his company is working to stop smugglers from using Facebook to spread false claims.

READ: 171,000 Migrants in March: Poll Shows Most Americans Unhappy with Biden Border Crisis 

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