The use of minors by drug cartels that profit financially from migrants is nothing new on the US-Mexico border. But in recent times, the Border Patrol has detected an increase in the number of American teenagers apprehended crossing the border in vehicles loaded with undocumented immigrants.
Specifically, since the end of 2020, according to Carlos Rivera, a spokesman for that department, to the Reuters agency. Border guards have detected an increase in arrests of teenage drivers, as young as 14, who are being recruited by organized crime from Texas to California. According to their data, almost one in four drivers arrested for transporting undocumented immigrants in the Sunland Park area, on the border between Texas and New Mexico, were minors and almost all of them had US nationality.
As has traditionally happened with Mexican adolescents used by coyotes, they know that, if detained, minors face lesser legal consequences and are likely to be released shortly. For their part, teenagers – who are often recruited through social networks – can earn hundreds of dollars for each migrant they transport, according to sources consulted by Reuters, so the traffickers’ offer is lucrative for young people from the neighborhoods. poorest of the border cities.
However, the authorities warn of the risks. The Border Patrol says that minors tend to run away at high speed when intercepted and that, according to the American Civil Rights Union (ACLU, for its acronym in English), can lead to persecutions and fatal accidents.
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