Crossing the Mexican border illegally

The Migrant Border Crossing Study (MBCS), in 2010-2012 interviewed 1,113 recent deportees about their experiences crossing the border, being apprehended by U.S. authorities, and being repatriated to Mexico. The interviews took place in six cities in Mexico to which about 66% of the roughly 400,000 annual deportations were deported.

Typically, male respondents (80% of those interviewed) had made 5.3 lifetime crossing attempts and about 3 previous apprehensions. About two thirds had been apprehended by the Border Patrol while attempting to cross and the remaining 30% had managed to make it to their destination, but were picked up later by police or other authorities. Only 9% had crossed a port of entry, thus 91% has crossed away from ports of entry, such as the desert. 12% had been abandoned while crossing.

Three quarters relied on a “coyote” or human smuggler to get into the United States, agreeing to pay a median of $2,500 USD for their services. They walked for more than two days through the harsh conditions along the border. Thirty-nine percent ran out of water during their trip and 31% ran out of food. The extreme heat and harsh terrain where people cross has killed thousands of people.

12% had been robbed by bandits during the last crossing. 7% were kidnapped.17% were victims of “cyber kidnappings,” where people call with false claims about having kidnapped a family member to extort a ransom.

77% had lived in the U.S. for an average of 8.9 years. 70% of people who perceived their current home to be in the United States planned on crossing again in the future, compared to just 49% of those who said their home is not in the United States. 37% of people who perceived their current home to be in the United States indicated they would attempt another crossing within the next week.

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