A One-Way Illegal Ticket into the U.S. Costs $7,000

A One-Way Illegal Ticket into the U.S. Costs $7,000

  • Human traffickers charge migrants $7,000 per person to illegally cross into the U.S.
  • Mexican officials are detaining some immigrants, but the numbers are piling up and causing migrants to ask smugglers to get them across the border
  • Legislators agree there is a crisis to handle, but they disagree on how to fix it

Our immigration system is broken and there’s a humanitarian crisis at our southern border, both for Angel families who have suffered from a broken immigration system, and also for the migrants that get tricked and scammed by human traffickers. Not all illegal immigrants are bad people. But they are being misguided in the belief that entering our country illegally is the way to go.  

That pretty much sums up the song and dance we’ve heard about immigration since, well, practically forever. There’s a serious crisis at our border, politicians from every color of the spectrum understand this, but nothing seems to be changing. What’s it going to take to stop the humanitarian crisis and protect American Paychecks once and for all?

Understanding the crisis for what it is

The number of migrants marching to our border is at a ten-year high. Some migrants march towards America in hopes of a better life. But what happens to many of them along the way actually ends up doing more harm than good. According to the New York Times, “The smugglers, or polleros, are known to kill or strand migrants who falter in their payments, and to extort those who have families that can mortgage homes or drum up more money.”

$4,000. Then $5,500. Now $7,000. The price that smugglers charge to carry one person across illegally into the United States is skyrocketing because of increasing demand. Many families turn to smugglers because they fear long waits at the border, and in many cases — regardless of the hardships they may be facing back home — the case for asylum is often flimsy. Plus, Mexican officials are now assisting the U.S. in detaining immigrants along the border and that’s causing even longer wait times. The longer they wait, the more migrants look to smugglers to get into the U.S. illegally.  

And that’s the problem. A few bad apples in the bunch, aka the smugglers and human traffickers, ruin the whole system. They perpetuate the system of violence and anger that causes so many immigrants to flee in the first place, and then help migrants cross the border illegally. Smugglers charge migrants thousands of dollars to illegally cross the U.S. border, but then threaten their life if they can’t pay up or exploit their families for more money. Isn’t that precisely the terror they were trying to escape in the first place?

Is the crisis bad enough that both sides are willing to make concessions?

We can’t physically deal with more than 60,000 migrants showing up in just one month. Proposals for fixing the issue are based on the idea that the best way to stop this humanitarian crisis — and protect American paychecks — is to end the market opportunity; ie make it near impossible to cross illegally. On one hand there’s the question of how to secure our border and make illegal crossings stop. On the other hand is the moral question of what to do with all the migrants sitting at the border who actually do need help, plus what to do with those that are already here.

If we stand a chance to get any serious immigration reform, it’s going to have to come from everyone working together. Luckily, both the Republican-led Senate and Democratic-led House seem to realize that doing nothing is simply not an option. “I’m willing to enter into a negotiation to see what we can do to fix the problems,” said Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate majority leader. 

Is now the time for concrete action?

If we don’t get control over our borders, that’s just more people who will wind up living illegally in limbo in the United States, negatively affecting American paychecks, and the perpetuation of violent crime by smugglers at our border. Without the ability to cross illegally, smugglers won’t be able to take advantage of migrant families by charging them thousands of dollars to enter the U.S.  

Could 2019 be the year of massive immigration reform? We’ll have to wait until Congress comes back from its two week spring break to see if they’re serious or just spewing more political talk.

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