Baba, a mechanic from the West African nation of Mauritania threw himself to the ground and prayed seconds after squeezing through the steel fence at the Mexican border in Arizona.
'Joe Biden opened the door for us,' he gleefully yelled as dusk fell and the migrants waited to be picked up and processed by U.S. authorities.
'I wanted to come here to be free. You cannot put a price on freedom,' added Baba, one of an increasing number of migrants from several African countries who are now joining the influx along the southern border.
But while Baba, 25, thanked Biden's border control policies for the chance of a new life in America, there is really one other person he should be showing his gratitude to.
That man is Daniel Ortega, the 77-year-old long-time strongman in Nicaragua, a close ally of the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and an implacable foe of the United States which has imposed sanctions on his country.
DailyMail.com traveled to Lukeville, Arizona, and saw at least 600 migrants, many of them from Africa crossing the border in one day
Baba (red shirt), a Mauritanian mechanic, threw himself to the ground and prayed after he squeezed through the fence. Adama (yellow shirt), a 34-year-old delivery driver from the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, said he had paid just over $8,000 to smugglers – he called them 'businessmen' – for his trip from the West African nation after he sold his house.
The footage shows Mexican cartels helping the migrants by cutting open the steel bars of the 30-foot-high fence that is supposed to keep Arizonans safe
Officials detected 144,000 migrants who entered from Mexico in June, but now numbers are starting to rise once more with agents spotting 183,000 in July, the last month for which data is available
One of the migrants waved for the DailyMail.com camera after crossing through the border fence with two others
For Nicaragua is now playing an increasingly important role in the migrant crisis, allowing in people from all over the world for a $160 fee and then turning a blind eye to where they go next, DailyMail.com has learned. In fact, a regular tourist visa costs just $10, according to the U.S. Embassy there, suggesting the smugglers are getting a hefty mark-up.
Soft-touch entry requirements for nationals of a slew of African countries mean they can purchase a low-cost visa on arrival in its capital, Managua, without any proof of onward travel.
Baba, like many of the young men that DailyMail.com spoke to, claimed that he had paid the $160 for paperwork allowing him to enter that country.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega attended a conference of developing countries in Cuba last week. His country allows migrants in for as little as $160, DailyMail.com has learned
Officials then appear to turn a blind eye to the lucrative people-smuggling business occurring right under their noses, effectively creating a back door into the U.S.
Brazen smugglers even boast on TikTok of how potential asylum-seekers are 'guaranteed' to be let into America once they arrive at its border with Mexico.
'Come and live this experience with us,' says one French language post. 'Next departure is September 18, Ins'allah.' Another read: 'Must be financially prepared and ready for adventure. Once in Mexico you enter the USA without worries so relax.'
The posts promise cheap deals on airfares from West Africa, although who exactly is raking in the proceeds of those sales remains unclear.
It could give rise to the suspicion that Ortega, a long-time foe of the United States whose wife and children have been hit by sanctions, is weaponizing the flow of migrants barely a year before what will be a hotly contested presidential election.
Baba, who was sporting a Liverpool F.C. jersey like his soccer idol Mohammed Salah, came through in Lukeville, Arizona, a tiny town of just 40 people across the border from Sonoyta in the Mexican state of Sonora.
On Saturday, DailyMail.com witnessed at least 600 enter in Lukeville. Coyotes who were paid to escort them through cut holes in the fence that is supposed to keep them out.
For the migrants it was the end of what was for some a month-long journey. Baba flew a total of more than 11,300 miles to get to the United States and then had a 3,000 mile trek on land.
'I flew from Mauritania to Istanbul,' Baba explained, barely able to contain his joy at reaching Arizona. 'From there, we took a flight to Bogota in Colombia.
'Once we landed in Colombia, we went to El Salvador and then to Nicaragua.
'It was only there that we left the airport.'
Once he had landed, Baba still had a long and dangerous trek through Central America and Mexico ahead of him. But he had landed in the Americas and now the United States beckoned.
Baba blamed 'repression' in his homeland as his reason for fleeing.
The near 15,000-mile route that Baba took to reach the United States from his home country of Mauritania
'Honestly, sometimes I just don't want to come to work anymore,' one Border Patrol guard told DailyMail.com as agents are forced to repeatedly weld shut the holes
Overworked and overstretched border agents patrol the fence in marked US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) vehicles 24/7
DailyMail.com saw some 300 people, many of them from young men India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh as well as families from Latin America, creep into the country early on Saturday afternoon
Through the fence, one group of 70 African migrants, nearly all of them in their twenties and thirties wait their turn to squeeze through across the US/Mexico border
French language advertisements promising travel to Nicaragua are common on social media in several African countries. The one on the left says: 'Must be financially prepared and ready for adventure. Once in Mexico you enter the USA without worries so relax.' On the right it reads: 'Buy your plane ticket. Obtain your authorization. No need for a visa'
The State Department says arbitrary arrests and torture are common in Mauritania, a former French colony, where there are 'serious restrictions' on freedom of expression.
It was the last nation on earth to criminalize slavery, formally banning the practice after international pressure in 1981. Rights groups say, however, that it remains widespread there.
Baba met up with three other men to make the trip from Nicaragua – a fellow Mauritanian, a Senegalese and a man from the central African nation Chad.
The Chadian, Korom Maganat Cherif, 36, told DailyMail.com he fled his country's capital N'Djamena. He said he had to get out and buy a plane ticket through Turkey because of the 'war' at home, leaving behind his wife, two daughters and four sons.
There have been regular terror attacks carried out across his country by the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, for more than a decade.
'The Nicaraguans didn't stamp our passport,' he said, pointing to his last exit visa from his homeland's neighbor Cameroon.
'You just pay the money and then they hand over a piece of paper. That's it.'
Adama, a 34-year-old delivery driver from the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, said he had paid just over $8,000 to smugglers – he called them 'businessmen' – for his trip after he sold his house.
Those who cannot afford these hefty price tags will be forced to work for associates of the trafficking gangs once they arrive at their destination.
'I hope to find work in Atlanta because I have family there,' Adama says as he idly kicked at trash that had been discarded by the migrants inside Organ Pipe National Park.
Jules Fall, a 36-year-old Senegalese national, told DailyMail.com that he took a different route.
'I flew from Dakar to Casablanca and spent one night at the airport there before heading to Madrid. That is where I took a plane to Colombia.,' he said.
The human smugglers struck yet again as daylight begins to fade in Lukeville
Just after 7.15pm, night falls on Lukeville as four border patrol vehicles swept on the water station where hundreds of migrants have been gathering to await their fate. Border agents, dressed in military green uniforms, get out and shone lights on the faces of that evening's arrivals, startling some of the younger children
Migrants are pictured sitting on the gravel drinking water after climbing through the border fence in Arizona
Many of the migrants are taking advantage of a loophole in a new migration route that cuts through the Central American nation of Nicaragua
The increase in the number of African migrants comes just four months after the Biden administration ended Title 42 on May 11, a Trump-era coronavirus edict based on an 80-year-old public health law, that made it possible to immediately boot asylum seekers out.
Officials detected 144,000 migrants who entered from Mexico in June, but now numbers are starting to rise once more with agents spotting 183,000 in July, the last month for which data is available.
DailyMail.com saw at least 600 self-proclaimed refugees sneak across the frontier on Saturday in what many said was a bid to find a better life in America.
Migrant Moustapha Ba posted a picture of himself 'en route for Nicaragua' – and received nearly 3,300 likes
Devious smugglers used cutting tools to slice open the steel bars of the 30-foot-high fence that is supposed to keep residents of the Grand Canyon State safe – often in broad daylight.
Overworked and overstretched border agents patrolled the fence in marked US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) vehicles 24/7. They desperately and repeatedly welded shut the holes that had been smashed open by cartel lackeys in what was clearly a thankless game of cat-and-mouse.
'Honestly, sometimes I just don't want to come to work anymore,' said one Border Patrol guard, who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
Authorities conservatively estimate that more than 2,000 migrants sneak into the U.S. each day in the area close to Lukeville. The border stretches across the 262-mile Tucson region from the state border with New Mexico to Yuma in western Arizona.
As many as 39,000 illegal aliens were picked up in July here, up from 24,000 the previous month.
DailyMail.com saw some 300 people cross – not all of whom were Africans. There were many young men from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh as well as families from Latin America, who crept into the country earlier on Saturday afternoon.
And the smugglers struck again just before 6pm local time as daylight began to fade.
Through the fence, DailyMail.com saw one group of 70 African migrants, nearly all of them young in their twenties and thirties.
They were dropped off in large white semis outside the Café El Trocadero, a ramshackle fast-food restaurant popular with truckers and a well-known smuggling hotspot over the border.
Two men, dressed in T-shirts and jeans, casually led them up to the fence and sawed through the steel barrier so their human cargo could wander freely into the United States.
Their movements will be detected by the border patrol mobile observation posts that are dotted around the nearby hills.
The migrants' movements will be detected by the border patrol mobile observation posts that are dotted around the nearby hills
Looking across from the U.S. side, dozens of identity documents, including passports, have been discarded before the migrants crossed over the frontier
From Managua, the migrants, along with asylum seekers from other nations, are whisked north by bus where they cross through into Honduras and Guatemala with the help of human traffickers.
DailyMail.com's calls to the Nicaraguan embassy in the U.S. seeking comment went unanswered, while emails to a government spokesman were not returned.
The left-wing government's laissez-faire immigration rules mean these migrants no longer need to negotiate the lawless and treacherous Darien Gap jungle in Panama.
And this newer route to a better, richer life is far safer than the one that has claimed countless lives of Africans trying to reach Europe in makeshift boats across the Mediterranean.
The migrants are picked up by the Mexican cartels close to the southeastern city of Tapachula.
They are then rushed north where they are kept in secret 'stash' houses where they lie in wait for an opportune moment to sneak across the border and into the United States.
Looking across from the U.S. side, you can see that dozens of identity documents, including passports, that have been discarded before the migrants cross over the frontier.
That makes it harder for authorities here to identify where they come from, and in turn complicates efforts of removing those who are not in danger at home and do not have a real claim to asylum.
DailyMail.com even found what appeared to be a Japanese identity card that had been dropped as its former owner climbed through a hole in the fence.
There was one migrant's shopping list of essential supplies that had been scrawled out in French, presumably from another asylum-seeker who had left from West Africa.
Those who claim asylum are released as they wait for their case to be heard in court, a process that can take several years
'There has got to be about 300 people here,' one border patrol agent was heard saying
Just after 7.15pm, as night fell on Lukeville, four border patrol vehicles swept on the water station where hundreds of migrants had been gathering to await their fate.
Border agents, dressed in military green uniforms, got out and shone lights on the faces of that evening's arrivals, startling some of the younger children in the crowd.
'There has got to be about 300 people here,' said one as his co-workers ordered them to move back towards the fence so families could be kept apart from the single men.
They were led away for an initial interview in a tented area close to the official border crossing in Lukeville.
From there they were moved on to be briefly detained and screened at the nearby CBP center in Ajo, 38 miles north.
Those who claimed asylum were then released to wait for their case to be heard in court, a process that can take several years.
As the border agents start to ferry the families away first, one of the vehicle's two-way radios crackled into life.
'We have got another 50 who have just crossed,' a male voice said from an undisclosed location.
And their night shift had only just begun.