Paper: Most US-Mexico Border Smugglers Are Americans

Newsmax, July 18, 2015

The smuggling of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border relies heavily on American labor, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review found in an eight-month investigation that paints a portrait of the network of smugglers known as “coyotes.”

Three out of every five convicted smugglers are U.S. citizens, according to an analysis by the newspaper of 3,254 federal trafficking convictions during 2013 and 2014 in federal courts in the southern stretches of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

The typical coyote is a white American man of Hispanic descent, 34 years old, with little schooling, the Tribune-Review reported Saturday as it began a week-long series on human smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border. Many are unemployed or do the work to pick up extra money.

Human smuggling is a labor-intensive industry, with about one coyote driving, feeding or guarding every three migrants entering the United States illegally, the newspaper found. Americans dominate key parts of the trade, especially jobs designed to circumnavigate the U.S. Customs and Border Protection dragnet that extends hundreds of miles inland from the border.

Four out of every five coyotes convicted of transporting migrants–or serving as “chequedores,” the scouts who spy on law enforcement so the drivers can avoid them–are Americans who earn a premium for both their birthright and the risks they’re willing to take.

The typical American fetches $840 per head unlawfully motoring migrants through Border Patrol checkpoints, where the likelihood of arrest is high, according to court records analyzed by the Tribune-Review.

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