Despite Recession Coyotes Still Doing Well, El Diario/La Prensa Reports

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
A portion of the U.S.-Mexico border - Photo: Isha.Net*/Flickr

A portion of the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo: Isha.Net*/Flickr)

The economic recession does not seem to be affecting the human smugglers known as coyotes, according to a story published Tuesday in the New York Spanish-language newspaper El Diario/La Prensa.

The coyotes‘ business is still doing well, reporter Cristina Loboguerrero wrote after interviewing two men who take part in a chain of human trafficking that starts in Guatemala and reaches the New York metropolitan area and other U.S. regions.

“Last September, I got scared because the business went down 50 percent,” Jorge, a Salvadoran smuggler who has done this work for ten years, told the reporter. “But the truth is that it has been picking up slowly, although the price for bringing someone went up almost $1,000.”

According to the story, Jorge is one of the people in charge of transporting undocumented immigrants from cities in the southwest such as Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, to states including South and North Carolina, Maryland, New York and New Jersey.

Jorge himself lives in New Jersey, with his wife and two kids.

“I do one or even two trips a month, that’s enough to sustain my family,” he said. “From $5,000 a pollero (smuggler) charges to bring someone from Guatemala, I keep about $800 per person, and in each trip I try to bring about 8 or 10 people to these states, depending on how many make it across the border.”

Loboguerrero also interviewed Raúl, a Mexican-born smuggler, who lives in Pennsylvania. He said the price coyotes charge for bringing someone across the U.S.-Mexico border has gone up recently because increased security makes it a riskier proposition.

“Those in charge of bringing the people in all the way from Guatemala, the meeting point for people coming from other countries in Latin America, have had to pay more money to their contacts so they let them travel without problems,” Raúl said.

Asked whether the smuggling business could suffer from bad economic conditions, he said: “As long as there is hunger in other countries, the U.S. will always be the paradise to satiate it.”

AboutDiego Graglia
Diego Graglia is a bilingual multimedia journalist who has worked at major media outlets in the U.S. and Latin America. He is currently the editor-in-chief at Expansion, Meixco’s leading business magazine.