SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Human smugglers, or coyotes, have reportedly hiked their fees to get migrants illegally into the U.S.
Victor Clark, with the Binational Commission for Human Rights in Tijuana, says fees now range anywhere from $12,000 to $14,000.
“In the 90s, the coyotes were charging just $100 to get people across the border in the Tijuana-San Ysidro area, and $250 for a ride up to Los Angeles.”
Clark also stated prices vary depending on the type of migrant, nationality and the area along the border that will be crossed.
“There’s a new generation of coyotes who don’t respect the traditional way of charging,” said Clark. “They don’t have set fees anymore, they base it all according to the group in front of them.”
Demand for smugglers has risen in recent months as more and more migrants arrive at Mexican border towns intent on getting north of the border, Clark said.
“Migrants are being charged $5,000 just to be taken to the border and given instructions on how and where to cross.”
The higher prices are forcing many migrants to wait for online appointments to cross the border rather than trying their luck with a smuggler.
Using the CBP One, migrants can apply online to be able to present themselves at one of eight ports of entry along the Southwest border — Nogales, Brownsville, Eagle Pass, Hidalgo, El Paso, Calexico, and San Ysidro.
Those with CBP One appointments are vetted and processed, which includes biographic and biometric security vetting and background screening, and individuals who are processed into the United States may be paroled to continue their immigration proceedings, on a case-by-case basis.
“The exorbitant prices are too much for some migrants looking for asylum,” said Clark.
One woman named Jaqueline, from El Salvador, said that for her own safety and that of her unborn child, she’ll wait for an appointment while staying at a shelter.
“Every day is an eternity, I can’t sleep, eat, and I have intense pains, but I just have to be patient,” she said. “A smuggler offered his services for $10,000 because I was pregnant saying it was guaranteed that I would be able to get humanitarian asylum once in the United States.”
Jacqueline and other migrants say waits for a CBP One appointment are currently two months out.
According to DHS, since its launch in January through the end of June, more than 170,000 individuals have successfully scheduled an appointment to present themselves at a designated port of entry. The top nationalities who have scheduled appointments are Haitian, Mexican, and Venezuelan.