12/07/2012 09:59:00 AM EST
The New Border: Illegal Immigration's Shifting Frontier
"Profound shifts in economics, demographics and crime are transforming immigration patterns and causing upheaval in Central and North America. After decades in which Mexicans dominated illegal immigration to the United States, the overall number of immigrants has dropped and the profile has changed. Although Mexicans remain the largest group, U.S.-bound migrants today are increasingly likely to be young Central Americans fleeing violence as well as poverty, or migrants from remote locales such as India and Africa who pay top smuggling fees. ... Smuggling is a major industry. Last year, Mexican authorities in Chiapas discovered two tractor-trailers carrying a total of 500 Central Americans, Indians and Chinese who had just crossed the Guatemalan border. Smuggling fees for immigrants from Asia and Africa depend on factors such as the length and risk of the trip and use of fraudulent documents. Chinese migrants pay as much as $65,000 and Indians about $25,000, according to U.S. border enforcement officials. If they cannot afford to pay upfront, clients borrow from family and associates or work off debts through indentured labor upon arrival in the United States. The revenue from such valuable human cargo buys allies in government." - Sebastian Rotella, Dec. 6, 2012.