Spanish migration expert Ruben Pulido
Spanish migration expert Ruben Pulido

Key Points of Illegal Immigration in the United States and Europe – An Interview with Ruben Pulido

Massive illegal immigration has been one of the major issues of the 21st century, both in the United States and in Europe.
Especially, since 2015 and 2016 with the appearance of Donald Trump in the United States, who had very hard views against illegal immigration, which some media described as racist and xenophobic. Likewise, in Europe it spread because of the Syrian refugee crisis, in which Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s speeches in Hungary and those of the PiS (Law and Justice party) in Poland became amplified.

Almost 10 years later, the problem is still on the table and with new parties of the so-called new conservative right the issue has started to be addressed more. This year there will be two of the most important elections of this decade and for many of the 21st century, in June, the European Parliament elections, and in November, the U.S. presidential elections. In these elections, illegal immigration and border protection are some of the central issues. For this reason, The Long Brief has decided to interview Ruben Pulido. Pulido is a political analyst, journalist and expert on illegal immigration.

What changes have there been in global immigration over the past 15 years?

This issue would undoubtedly take us hours of debate, because the ramifications through which the problem of illegal immigration has expanded are multiple.

I would say that the most important and significant change has been the “professionalization” of the problem.

That is to say, decades ago the migratory movements of people tended to a certain spontaneity and had a less organized character. There were meetings between families and it was a more altruistic issue free from the direct interference of criminal networks. Most were refugees: people fleeing war or political or social persecution.

Now everything has changed, it is a real business, in which criminal networks that have spread throughout Africa and warlords who have seen great business in the mobilization of illegal immigrants to destination Europe. At this time, if you do not have a considerable amount to pay for your illegal trip to Europe, you cannot choose to flee your country.

In this way, now those who really need to flee due to a real need cannot leave their country, because they do not have the money that the smugglers are going to ask for. We could summarize it like this.

Illegal immigration in the United States has increased under Joe Biden, why is that?

It may be too incredible, direct, or perhaps you may think I’m a conspiracy theorist, but I think Joe Biden wanted it that way. I don’t see any other explanation. Political inaction can lead to your country being invaded by hundreds of thousands of immigrants, but what has happened in the United States is not just political inaction, there is something more behind all of this.

I sincerely think that it is an operation to attract new voters, new voters who can influence elections to perpetuate the Democrats in power.

It is impossible for your country to be invaded in such a disproportionate way if you are not a party to all of this.

I sincerely believe that Joe Biden has done every possible thing to get as many people as possible to enter his country illegally. And I sincerely believe that in the future he should pay for all this.

Many experts point out illegal immigration in the United States has changed, why is that?

It is something that has also happened in Europe, and chaos has a lot of influence here. When the migratory flows of thousands of people are expansive and apparently uncontrolled, new business models emerge. We can never forget that this is a business profited by drug cartels and other criminal networks that have observed great economic profit in the trafficking of immigrants.

They have seen that this is a monetizable issue in all directions and that there are millions of people eager to reach the United States. So, the business has expanded and crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

Illegal trips to the United States are currently being offered through many Facebook groups in Africa and the same is happening on many Asian information channels.

Through a personalized air route, all these immigrants leave from Asian and African airports bound for Mexico, El Salvador, and other countries bordering the United States.

I have been able to see the passenger documents from Moroccan airports and there are immigrants of practically all nationalities. Africans, who travel even without transit visas on many occasions but who finally end up in airports in Central American countries to later travel to the southern border with the United States. The same happens with Asians.

The National Police of Spain has informed me on many occasions that the Madrid airport is used as a stopover for these trips to Mexico by Asian immigrants. They know this because many of them have aborted the trip in Madrid and have requested asylum in Spain for fear of later being deceived in Mexico.

Terminal T-4 Madrid – Barajas Airport (Photo: Magic Aviation / Wikimedia Commons)

Terminal T-4 Madrid – Barajas Airport (Photo: Magic Aviation / Wikimedia Commons)

In short, the immense magnitude of what is happening on the southern border of the United States has made all of this become an international macro business.

What are the direct consequences that illegal immigration brings to the United States? Many talk about drugs, the cartels, fentanyl… is it true?

Totally true. Here I will be more concise because there is no room for doubt. In the end, in this business model, in the business of human trafficking, unscrupulous people have entered, who were dedicated to other issues and who were dedicated, for example, to large-scale drug trafficking.

The connection is direct, the same thing happens in Europe, at the moment large drug cartels are beginning to traffic people, they are even using the boats they used for drugs, to transport people to Spanish coasts.

Sometimes, the transportation has been mixed, drugs and people. Why wouldn’t something like this happen in the US? It is the most likely and I can place a bet right now without fear of losing. In all illegal immigration routes, other criminal factors always intervene, that is, there is always an expansion of the business model in which drug trafficking, terrorism or human trafficking are mixed. Everything goes together.

Donald Trump was one of the presidents who reduced illegal immigration the most and had the fewest deportations compared to Barack Obama and Joe Biden, what strategy did he follow?

The most important thing to control an illicit and uncontrolled movement of people to your country is to create a decisive deterrent effect. There is no greater deterrent effect than an aggressive policy aimed at controlling your borders.

When you openly say that anyone who enters your country illegally will never have a future and will be deported, what do you think a person heading towards the border would do? I tell you, he would return to his country. He would decide not to try.

On many occasions, the message and the political application of our laws are more important than a big wall.

Why do you want a big wall if you are going to allow people to cross it and enter and remain in your country indefinitely?

A small fence separates densely populated Tijuana, Mexico, right, from the United States in the Border Patrol's San Diego Sector (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

A small fence separates densely populated Tijuana, Mexico, right, from the United States in the Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

However, if you carry out the application of severe policies and do not allow the regularization of these illegal immigrants and send them the appropriate message, you will not need your borders to be so visible, they are already visible at the political level, which is the most important.

I believe that we are in a time in which words are everything, an encouraging message for those who want to enter your country illegally is everything so that they finally choose to do so. However, a hostile message against illegal immigration will always make many think about it and finally decide that now is not the time to enter the United States illegally.

You are an expert on illegal immigration in Europe, especially in Spain, what is the modus operandi of the human smuggling mafias in Europe?

Everything is very similar to the United States, do not think that these are distant issues at the moment. As I said at the beginning of this interview, we could talk about a perfectly structured and monetized immigration system, where criminal networks throughout the northern part of Africa and the Sahel have created a solid network of services for all those young people interested in entering Europe illegally.

Everything is organized through social networks, Facebook, closed WhatsApp groups, hidden Telegram groups, they also sometimes resort to TikTok profiles. I must say that the marketing is very good and they use dozens of success stories to seduce the interest of thousands of young people.

Subsequently, economic rates come into play, jumping over a border fence that is protected by blades at the top is not the same as traveling to Spain or any other country in Europe in a comfortable boat with more than 600 horsepower.

Everything is perfectly organized, so that if you do not have financial resources, you will never have the option of fleeing your country. Therefore, it is a system that does not really help those who need it, we live truly deceived while the upper-middle class of all of Africa ends up in our countries and those subjects who have a high economic capacity because in their countries of origin they dedicate themselves to activities very far from legality.

We have seen how France, Belgium, Sweden and other Western European countries have suffered a change in the criminality of the country, has it been a consequence of illegal and massive immigration?

Completely. Absolutely. I have no doubt about it.

Due to my work, I have very frequent collaboration with the Spanish police authorities in charge of controlling immigration. I speak regularly with them and have access to police proceedings and investigations that show that dangerous people travel among illegal immigrants every day. I am talking about common criminals in their countries of origin and even people who have gone through processes of religious radicalization of an Islamist nature.

For me this is the most worrying thing. Anti-terrorism operations in Spain have shown that illegal immigration is being used by jihadists. So, I definitely think so. When a problem, such as illegal immigration, spirals out of control to current levels, evil takes advantage of that circumstance.

Crime, terrorism, drug trafficking, all form part of the same game when a problem like immigration spreads to chaos.
If you want a soldier from your Islamic-radical brigade to enter Europe without being detected, what would you do right now? I am clear about it, I would use illegal immigration to enter Spain without being seen and so in April 2020, one of the most wanted Daesh (also known as ISIS) soldiers in Europe, Egyptian Abdel Bari, entered the province of Almería.

Which European leaders do you think are the best at combating immigration and why?

I think that right now a great example of firmness in the face of this problem is Viktor Orban.
The message from his entire government team is being clear during his mandate and they have decided to even stand up to European guidelines that sought to soften their path against illegal immigration. It bears a great hybrid threat on its borders and is being able to control the problem, assuming a high political cost at the European level. For me it is the greatest example.

What similarities do you find between illegal immigration in Europe and the United States?

As I said throughout the interview, the business model is completely similar. In the United States the same thing has happened as in Europe, we have moved from altruistic and family movements to a business model, monetized and where criminal structures are currently in charge of organizing a large part of the movements to the borders.

What differences do you find between illegal immigration in Europe and the United States?

I would say that except for the profiles on a personal level, everything is the same. So far the majority of illegal immigration crossing the southern border of the United States has been Latin Americans, most of them Christians. At least until the emergence of other criminal networks in Africa and Asia, this has been the case. In Europe in the last decade we have suffered the entry of more than three and a half million illegal immigrants and more than 90 percent are Muslims, with a huge lack of integration capacity and where many of them believe that they are coming to conquer Europe.

Great Mosque of Rome, Italy (Photo: Darrel Ronald /

Great Mosque of Rome, Italy (Photo: Darrel Ronald /

I think that that religious and cultural profile has been a big difference. Also the volume of movements in the United States is much greater in terms of the magnitude of displaced people, although it is also true that the size of the United States is greater than the size of Europe. But the cultural and religious issue is a great differentiating element.

Do you think illegal immigration could be a key issue in both the European and American elections?

Without a doubt, I believe it is the greatest threat to both continents. And although many do not dare to express their opinion, everyone believes that uncontrolled illegal immigration is something dangerous for society.

Sergio Velasco
Sergio Velasco is a Spanish political scientist, analyst and political commentator. He is the founder of Filosofia Política, a social media-based enterprise where he details and offers his take on Spanish, Hungarian and Polish political developments. A columnist in Hungarian and Spanish press, he is often invited on television to share his thoughts with the viewers.

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  1. […] Illegal and mass immigration has been the main issue of the parties of the new conservative right. Working class people see their neighborhoods changing and crime increasing, something that is rare in Europe, as something that used to characterize European countries was the joy of having great security on the streets. However, this has changed. […]

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