This year, maybe 300,000 plus people will be arrested trying to cross illegally from Mexico. More than 100,000 will likely make it safely to their destination. This is a story of two who got arrested.
The Washington Post tracked a couple trying to return from Mexico to Florida, where they had worked, for jobs promised to them via Facebook. The couple waited two miles south of the border. “For $3,000, the first smuggler would take the couple from a nearby safe house to the Rio Grande. For $4,000 more, the second smuggler would take them from the river to a safe house in McAllen, Tex. For another $3,000, the third smuggler would take them from McAllen to Houston. And for $2,000 on top of that, the fourth smuggler would take them from Houston to Florida. In total, it was a $12,000 investment — equivalent to what they could earn in Florida in six months, at $9.60 per hour.” The smuggler had a package deal for three attempts.
On their second attempt, they crossed the Rio Grande but were caught south of Houston, abandoned by their smuggler.
“There’s an absolute dearth of workers, the likes of which I’ve never seen in my career,” said Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president of AmericanHort, a lobbying firm that represents the horticulture industry in Washington.
“Thanks to an improving economy, U.S. citizens who might have picked flowers or planted corn now have better options. Farm and nursery owners complain about the red tape and expense of work visa programs.”