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Illegal Ticket to the US: $3000

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

I had the most interesting conversation last night with a guy who said he works on a human trafficking cartel, getting people across the border from Mexico to the United States. The entry costs $3000 and is payable on successful transport accross the border. The penalty for welshing on the deal is death, he explained rather simply.

I asked him how, because I know there are tunnels and boats, but he said trucks. I asked him if it was mostly men and he said no, a lot of women go to. Then I asked if it was for prostitution and he said it depends. Cubans, Colombians and Venezuelans, he said, usually go into prostitution. I tried asking him what work these illegal immigrants did once they arrived and I didn’t really get an clear answer. I think it’s because that’s where his job ends. Once they’re in and they’ve paid their $3000, he’s got nothing to do with them. There’s plenty of ways to make money under the table: construction, farm labor, gardening, domestic servitude, selling drugs, prostitution. A job is the easy part, getting in—that’s the hard part.

Interestingly he said that a portion of his customers are Israli, which surprised me because I didn’t think that Isralis had a hard time entering legally.

I wanted to ask him many more questions but I didn’t want him thinking I worked for the INS. I wanted to know how big the trucks are, what kind of trucks, how often do they make the crossing, is there any relation to drug smuggling? Then I thought how interesting it would be to pay the $3000 and make the crossing myself.

He said, you know, people in the US think that the border is totally secure but it’s not, people cross it everyday.

(photo credit)

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