Illegal immigrants are spending $9,200 for smugglers to sneak them into the United States from Central America and Mexico, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
The story was first reported by the Washington Examiner.
About $1,200 is often charged as a down payment and another $8,000 is tacked on once the final destination point is reached — usually southern California, New Mexico, Arizona or Texas, the report says.
It also notes human smuggling fees have dramatically increased in recent years. And it says those illegal immigrants who cannot afford the payments often smuggle controlled substances over the border to pay off their debt.
"Initial fees required to approach staging locations along the border were often lower than $100 prior to the late 2000s, and an additional $1,000-$3,000 in fees were charged upon delivery to the final destination," officials say in the report. "More recently, smuggling fees for Mexicans and Central Americans reportedly have been as high as $1,200 for the initial staging payment and up to $8,000 at the final destination."
"Custodial interviews also find evidence of an increase in alternative forms of payment in exchange for passage, including migrants being required to participate in smuggling controlled substances or other illicit items across the border or to work off debts upon arrival in the United States, as well as reports of harsh negotiations concerning payment plans with family members."
The cost estimates were obtained from those caught by Customs and Border Protection officers about how they were brought into the U.S., the Examiner said.
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