Foreign Crime Gangs Exploit US Visa Waiver Program, Turning Michigan County into ‘Burglary Tourism’ Hotspot

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A Michigan sheriff has raised the alarm about “burglary Tourism” — the recent trend of international organized crime groups entering the U.S. and robbing wealthy suburban homes.

“We think there must be some sort of training camp, because they are so well-trained and equipped and so knowledgeable on how to move around and attack a house,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said on Wednesday.

They do a great deal of pre-op monitoring. They try to determine when people won’t be at home. They break the window and rush to the house. They do not open a window or door but walk through. They have an electronic blocker.”

Bouchard stated that the gangs are mostly from Chile and can quickly target small items such as home safes.

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They’re focused on expensive jewelry like watches, money, and high-end purses… Things that are valuable, but disposable. They leave and move on. The crews usually start in our area and move to other parts of the country. They then send another crew. “It’s a vicious cycle,” he added.

Bouchard urged the State Department to reevaluate Chile’s U.S. Visa Waiver Program participation. This program allows business and tourist travelers to enter America without a visa for 90 days or less.

“All we ask is for the federal government to either stop or discontinue Chile’s participation in this program. This does not mean that they cannot visit Chile. They just need a traditional Visa with a much higher level of scrutiny than the BWP,” he said, adding that Colombians who enter the U.S. via the southern border also contribute to crimes.

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California, New Jersey, and New York have all reported similar crimes.

Todd Spitzer, Orange County district attorney, has warned about this issue since last summer. He calls the Southern California burglaries “carefully planned and calculated.”

Spitzer has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Biden Administration for not responding to public records requests regarding documentation on this issue. He also asked Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, to use his power to remove Chile from the program.

Only one Latin American nation is on the list of 41 countries. The State Department calls it a regional leader in terms of economic stability and the rule of law.