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The human smuggling trade appears to be quite lucrative, according to a report by Courthouse News Service.

Eight men were recently indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for acting as “coyotes,” individuals who help others enter the country illegally. The men, mostly in their 20s and early 30s, were tasked with picking up illegal immigrants after their arrival in eastern San Diego County and transporting them to Orange County. For this, the immigrants were charged $4000 to $5000 per head.

If these numbers are correct, the cost of illegal transport is skyrocketing. In the early 1980s, coyotes charged as little as $50 to lead others across the border. Ten years later, a smuggler could be paid to lead a group all the way from El Salvador to the U.S. for between $1000 and $1500.

Enforcement of the law has also stiffened. The men, charged with conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, could face five years’ prison time and fines of up to $250,000. Despite the risk of such steep penalties, an expert doubted the drivers themselves received more than a small cut of the overall smuggling fee.

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Visduh Nov. 21, 2011 @ 9:24 p.m.

Let me understand this phenomenon. These illegals come here to "take jobs that Americans will not do." They are also paid poorly and are often abused in various ways. Yet they will pay $4-5,000 each to get here. The economics of all this just don't add up, if those jobs eschewed by Americans pay at or near the minimum wage. How many months or years would it take at that paltry level of pay to earn enough to pay the smuggler, let alone live here and send money home? Sorry, but the picture we've been getting about all this illegal entry and smuggling just isn't true. Something far more lucrative than minimum wage, dirty jobs is at work here.


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