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Neither Trump Nor US$ 20,000 Price Stop Brazilian Immigrants, Says Smuggler

08/13/2018 - 11h21

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FLÁVIA MANTOVANI
SÃO PAULO

Donald Trump's zero tolerance immigration policy, that went into effect from May to June and separated families, did not inhibit Brazilians to cross the American border illegally.

The demand didn't change, even by families with small children, says a smuggler that has been taking illegal immigrants from Governador Valadares (Minas Gerais) to the US for over 20 years.

Marcelo*, 50, agreed to describe his modus operandi to the reporter with the condition that his identity wouldn't be disclosed. He sent video and audio recordings of people, he says, who reached the United States after paying for his services.

REUTERS/Mike Blake
Immigrant children now housed in a tent encampment under the new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration are shown walking in single file at the facility near the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S
Immigrant children now housed in a tent encampment under the new "zero tolerance" policy by the Trump administration are shown walking in single file at the facility near the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S

According to numbers released on Wednesday (8) by the US Border Patrol, the number of immigrant families detained in the Mexican border fell slightly by 2%, from June to July: it went from 9,434 to 9,258.

Marcelo says he charges R$ 77,000 (US$ 20,000) from each immigrant. That's the discounted price for the "easy" ones, he says. "If he is slow, has trouble understanding instructions, and I can tell he will give me trouble, I charge US$ 22,000).

According to him, the money is kept with a relative of the immigrant in Brazil and he is paid only after the border is crossed.

The crossing involves paying bribes to immigration agents in several stops of the way.

*Name has been changed by source's request.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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