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Policy: Immigration

Migrant smuggler costs for crossing Mexico to US

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Photo - In this Saturday, July 12, 2014 photo, shoes are seen beside the train tracks in Ixtepec, Mexico. Migrants pay thousands of dollars per person for the illegal journey across thousands of miles in the care of smuggling networks that in turn pays off government officials, gangs operating on trains and drug cartels controlling the routes north. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
In this Saturday, July 12, 2014 photo, shoes are seen beside the train tracks in Ixtepec, Mexico. Migrants pay thousands of dollars per person for the illegal journey across thousands of miles in the care of smuggling networks that in turn pays off government officials, gangs operating on trains and drug cartels controlling the routes north. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
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Migration experts and smugglers who charge from $4,000 to $10,000 to move Central Americans to the U.S. say these are some of the payments that must be made to get their human cargo to its destination:

— Guide who makes the trip: $500-$600.

— Boatmen at Mexico's southern border: $1.50 to cross Suchiate River from Guatemala.

— Lodging: $11.50 a room, which can hold many migrants.

— Central American gang: At least $100 per migrant to board Mexican freight train known as "La Bestia" The Beast).

— Mexican police and immigration officials: $230 to $540 to pass; $25 to $40 a person to free detained migrant.

— Drug cartels: $250 to $300 for Mexican migrant, $500 to $700 for Central American, about $1,500 for someone from Europe or Asia, plus 10 percent flat fee per smuggler to cross northern Mexico to U.S. border.

— Boatmen at Mexico's northern border: $100 per immigrant to cross Rio Grande into U.S.

— Drivers: $150 for ride from Rio Grande to stash house; $200 for ride north of Border Patrol's highway checkpoint to Houston.

— Caretaker at stash house: $20 per person per day.

Source: Migrants, coyotes, court testimony

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