Many African asylum seekers enter the United States at the Mexican border.  Their journey to the U.S. is long and circuitous.  In East Africa (where some of my clients come from), people travel from Ethiopia, Eritrea or Somalia to Kenya.  From there, they go to South Africa and Brazil using false passports, and then through South America (sometimes by boat up the Amazon River!), to Central America, and then Mexico and the U.S.  Along the route, they are passed from one smuggler to the next.  Its big business for the smugglers: I've heard the trip costs between $10,000.00 and $15,000.00, and sometimes more.


A smuggler guides a couple illegal aliens across the border.

Last year, Abrahaley Fessahazion, an Eritrean based in Guatemala pleaded guilty to helping smuggle illegal aliens to the United States for financial gain.  Mr. Fessahazion was caught after he came to the U.S. and filed a false claim for political asylum.  He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Now, if the rumor mill is to be believed, DHS and at least one Latin American government are planning to arrest some additional smugglers in Central America.  DHS investigators have been interviewing smuggled aliens in the United States.  They have asked the aliens to identify photos of several smugglers based in Central American.  While most of the smugglers are from Latin America, at least one is African.  

It seems that DHS's central concern involves the Somalis, who have long been viewed as a potential threat to national security (I've blogged about this issue here), and apparently DHS's interrogation of the smuggled aliens has focused on Somali migrants.   

If the rumors are true, and certain Latin American governments are cooperating in the crackdown, life might be about to become difficult for the smugglers.

Originally posted on the Asylumist: