February 16, 2006


Border wall may be financial boon for smugglers (Alfredo Corchado, Feb. 16, 2006, Dallas Morning News)

A bill to erect a wall to help keep undocumented immigrants out of the United States has not been approved by Congress, but it probably can count on support from an unlikely constituency - people smugglers.

That's because along the border, and in places such as this town in San Luis Potosi state, smugglers expect that such a wall would lead to an increase in their business moving people across the Rio Grande.

Already some coyotes, as the smugglers are known, are pumping up their prices. The fee they charge to take a Mexican to Dallas, for instance, has increased from $1,200 to $1,500, some residents say.

"That's the way it is," said a smuggler who identified himself as Gregorio Prieto as he played pool and negotiated with prospective clients at the Ahualulco Billiards hall near the town's central plaza.

"Any time the crossing gets harder, the price also goes up. Because nothing will stop the flow as long as Americans want their labor. They're just making it more difficult for the "ilegales" and more profitable for us."

Coyotes may not be able to take down a poodle, but they understand economics better than the nativists do.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 16, 2006 5:07 PM

Bruno might say: they're greedy bastards but they're facilitators.

Posted by: Genecis at February 16, 2006 5:15 PM

We should be charging just a few bucks less than the going rate to let them in legally.

Posted by: Timothy at February 16, 2006 5:25 PM

Tim, Just welcome them home.

Posted by: erp at February 16, 2006 5:53 PM

The exact same arguments are used against the war on drugs.

Posted by: Brandon at February 16, 2006 5:55 PM


Think a wall will stop drugs?

Posted by: oj at February 16, 2006 6:06 PM

nothing stops drugs.

Posted by: toe at February 16, 2006 9:48 PM

Any time the crossing gets harder, the price also goes up.

Isn't that kind of the point of the wall, though? To increase the costs of illegal border crossing? At some point, the returns from working here in the US will not be high enough to compensate them for the increased expense of paying the "coyotes" to smuggle them in.

The wall may not force all would-be immigrants into our legal immigration channels (after all, it has no effect on those who simply overstay their VISAs after entering legally), but it alters the costs of choosing illegal entry over legal entry. To the extent illegal immigrants obey the basic laws of economics, then, increased costs will generate downward pressure on total illegal immigration volume. And that's the point of the wall, no?

Posted by: Taeyoung at February 17, 2006 7:21 AM


Cubans risk the Gulf crossing as Vietnamese risked pirate infested waters. You'll never raise the price high enough.

Posted by: oj at February 17, 2006 7:52 AM

"You'll never raise the price high enough."

To cut it off entirely, no, of course. But are you trying to say there are no marginal illegal immigrants subject to price-deterrence? That's just daft.

Posted by: Taeyoung at February 17, 2006 9:35 AM


You are of course correct.

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at February 17, 2006 10:16 AM

Yes, there are just some who won't use coyotes.

Posted by: oj at February 17, 2006 11:12 AM

Many who won't try at all.

Cuba is a much worse place than is Mexico, and Cubans get to stay legally in the U.S., if they can reach shore...

Yet most Cubans stay on their cursed isle, because the trip North is hard and very dangerous.

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at February 17, 2006 4:55 PM


Yeah, those Mexican deportations are something else, huh?

Posted by: oj at February 17, 2006 5:10 PM

It's blot on our nation that we send Cubans and Haitians back to sure death. I can't believe that the Bush brothers haven't put a stop to it.

Posted by: erp at February 17, 2006 7:43 PM

Some bloggers look behind the stories. Others just regurgitate propaganda.

If you prefer bloggers in the first category, try this:


As for the post's title, anyone who's familiar with this subject realizes it has a supply and a demand component. The "supply" is offered by the corrupt Mexican oligarchy as a way to a) make billions of dollars and b) prevent a peasant revolution.

Don't just take it from me! Here's dozens of articles from an American who lives in Mexico:


Check them out if you want to find out what's really going on.

Posted by: TLB at February 18, 2006 12:13 AM