What some migrants do instead of paying thousands to smugglers

TIJUANA (Border report) – Instead of paying up to $ 18,000 dollars to a smuggler to get them north of the border, some migrants collect their money and invest it in cars and drive them into ports of entry where they can apply for asylum.

The strategy seems to work for many.

“I heard about a woman with two children who bought a car and drove it to the border,” Angelica said in Spanish. “She asked for asylum and now lives on the other side.”

“They buy cars and cross the border,” Alma said in Spanish.

Both Alma and Angelica live in a shelter in Tijuana.

Through many shelters along the border, one spreads about how it is possible to buy a car and drive it through a border crossing where one can ask for asylum.

Albert Rivera runs Agape Shelter for migrants in Tijuana. (Jorge Nieto / Special for Border Report)

The way it works, according to those familiar with the process, when migrants enter the gates, they admit they have no documentation or permission to enter the United States. This gives rise to an automatic trip for secondary inspection, where the migrants ask for asylum.

The trend is reportedly nothing new, but what makes it different are the people who are now trying it.

“It started with Ukrainian and Russian immigrants,” said Albert Rivera, who runs the Agape Shelter in Tijuana. “Now Central Americans and migrants from Mexico are taking advantage of it.”

The Border Report contacted the Department of Homeland Security to confirm whether these types of crossings occur. Our requests for comments were not answered.

Ricardo is a newly deported migrant living in a shelter in Tijuana. (Jorge Nieto / Special for Border Report)

But if you ask Ricardo, who was recently deported and has been staying in a shelter for a few weeks, he will tell you that it is definitely taking place and with great success.

“A lot of people cross the border that way,” Ricardo said in Spanish. “Who will pay $ 18,000 to a smuggler, we always knew about this.”

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