Posted on February 18, 2005

Yucatán Helping Migrants Go North

Chris Hawley, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), Feb. 18

MERIDA, Mexico — Officials in a Mexican state have published their own 87-page handbook for potential migrants to the United States, adding fuel to an international debate over whether such guides encourage illegal border-crossers.

The Guide for the Yucatecan Migrant, published by the southeastern state of Yucatán, comes with an accompanying DVD in Spanish and Mayan. It tells migrants how to apply for U.S. work visas but also gives detailed safety advice for crossing illegally, including where to find water in the desert and how to avoid the most dangerous areas. The guide includes a section specifically about Arizona.


The Guide for the Yucatecan Migrant is filled with photographs and maps, and the cover shows a man in traditional Yucatecan dress standing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

It devotes 11 pages to U.S. visas and how to apply for them. The guide published by the Foreign Ministry in December contained none of that information and was widely criticized for it.

An additional 21 pages are about crossing the border illegally, including descriptions meant to help migrants avoid the most dangerous routes through Arizona, California and Texas.

Eight pages deal with crossing the Arizona desert, telling migrants what clothes to wear and to add salt to their drinking water and use a rehydration formula that can be bought in pharmacies.

“After passing through Lukeville, you will cross through a national park where you will find tanks of water,” one section says. “If the smuggler decides to walk beyond the park, you will travel on paths where there is no Border Patrol but in places where military exercises are conducted.”


Guide for the Mexican Migrant