Home » Migrants pay up to US$40,000 for protection to reach the Mexico border — El Nacional

Migrants pay up to US$40,000 for protection to reach the Mexico border — El Nacional

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Migrants pay up to US$40,000 for protection to reach the Mexico border — El Nacional

Authorities on Mexico’s northern border have issued a warning about the increasing trend of migrants paying up to $40,000 to coyotes for a “package of protections” that promises to shield them from deportation and provide free transit through the country. The head of the National Migration Institute (INM) in Baja California, David Pérez Tejada, revealed that the number of people arriving with these protections has surged in the last quarter of 2023, with an average of 8,000 people per month or about 300 people per day.

These protections are purportedly promoted in Tabasco, Veracruz, and other entities in the center of Mexico, where coyotes entice migrants with the idea of an “all-inclusive” package to reach border cities such as Tijuana, from where they can cross irregularly into the United States. According to Pérez Tejada, some migrants already arrive with these packages in hand, including a plane ticket from either Tapachula or Mexico City to Tijuana.

The INM representative also highlighted that each package has different costs based on the situation of the migrants and their place of origin. For instance, people from Uzbekistan may pay up to $40,000, while Chinese migrants pay $20,000. These prices vary depending on the presence of minors, family units, or individuals. The INM reported that the majority of migrants arriving with these protections are Uzbeks and Chinese.

While the package promises free transit through Mexico and protection from deportation, it does not exempt migrants from an administrative procedure if intercepted by authorities, in which they must serve a maximum of 36 hours of detention before release. This situation presents a complication for immigration authorities, as the irregular crossings into the United States, facilitated by these protections, pose a problem for border security and immigration control.

The arrival of migrants under this modality had its peak in November of last year, with 13,600 registered protected persons in Baja California. However, this number has decreased in January. While the issue of migrants paying for protections persists, some organizations have criticized the INM’s response to the situation. Nicole Ramos, director of Al Otro Lado in Tijuana, questioned the delegate’s message that the only way to cross to the United States is through CBP-One, calling it disingenuous and accusing Mexico of aiding the United States in limiting the number of asylum seekers who can cross.

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The warning from authorities signals an ongoing issue in the region, as migrants continue to seek unconventional means to navigate through the immigration process. The INM has recognized the impact of this situation and is seeking partnerships with legal associations and research institutes to address the challenges posed by these protections offered by coyotes.

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