President Trump Mentioned the ‘Coyotes.’ Who Are They?

By Christopher Manion Published on October 23, 2020

On Thursday night, President Trump mentioned the “Coyotes,” and all hell broke loose.

Let me tell you about the Coyotes.

First of all, the name. They earned it. They are ravenous wolves and they don’t bother with sheep’s clothing. The Coyotes are the product of generations of Mexican corruption that has thrived for well over a century.

Corruption Targets the Weak

Corruption always brings gangs in its wake. That’s true in every time zone in every hemisphere. In this case, corrupt officials in Mexico are as traditional as that land’s Aztec pyramids. Remember, that’s where thousands of captives were carved up and sacrificed on pagan feast days in the centuries before the conquistadors arrived.

As a result of that tradition, a Mexican public official’s salary is manifestly inadequate to sustain a decent standard of living. Thus that official — governor, mayor, police chief, or cop on the beat — has to make up the difference with bribes. When I lived in Mexico in the 60’s, I learned that first-hand. ¡Hagamos una cosa! — “Let’s make a deal!” — was often the only way to get anything done.

The illegals are herded north and handed over to the Coyotes, along with their share of the cash. The trip can last for weeks through rugged terrain. The dangers include robbery, assault, rape, and often violent confrontations with the Mexican military or well-armed rival gangs.

So the Coyotes have been around for a long time, smuggling drugs, goods, and people. When it comes to the U.S. border, that means anything that can’t legally get across.

How the Nightmare Continues

Let’s use Richard Dreyfuss’ hilarious (and fictional) country, Parador, to illustrate the typical Central American country.

In Parador, 40% of the population lives off of the money (called remesas, “remissions”) sent back home by their family members in the United States. Entire towns and broad swaths of cities have been built all over Parador with this inflow of American dollars.

But how did those family members get to the U.S.? Enter the Coyote.

Massive, Powerful Gangs

Where corruption reigns, smuggling thrives. Parador’s gangs specialize in robbery, drug smuggling, and shakedowns. They target businesses, neighborhoods, even street vendors. If you don’t pay up, you’re dead — in Parador, one independent bus driver is killed every single day for refusing to pay the gangs.

Virtually every Paradoran town, however remote, has a family or a neighborhood that depends on money coming from family members in the United States. That cash not only support communities in their home country, but it is also used to pay Mexican Coyotes to bring new prospective workers, or family members of workers already in the U.S.

Parador’s gangs know that. And they’re entrepreneurs. So they have allied with Mexico’s Coyotes to coordinate the trafficking thousands of Paradorans to the U.S. border every year.

$5,000, the Price of Admission to America

Parador’s gangs solicit new customers for the Coyotes, prepare them for the dangerous trip, and collect the money — a lot of it. Cost for transit to the U.S. border averages some $5,000 per head — yes, like cattle. The illegals are herded north and handed over to the Coyotes, along with their share of the cash. The trip can last for weeks through rugged terrain. The dangers include robbery, assault, rape, and often violent confrontations with the Mexican military or well-armed rival gangs.

The prospective illegal alien either pays his $5000 when his trip commences, or borrows it, with his family or another go-between who stays in Parador as his security. You might think that $5000 per head is a stunning amount for Paradoran peasants, and it is. But once in America, the breadwinner can earn that much in less than a year, with enough left over for his living expenses.

Sending Money Back Home

And what about those expenses? A Paradoran in the U.S. lives as cheaply as possible, so he can send remesas back home as soon as possible. A serious downside of that fact, rarely mentioned in debates about immigration, is telling: money earned by illegal aliens working in the United States does not stay in the communities in which they live and work. Those millions are spent building communities in Parador, not contributing to the American communities where they were paid.

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Paradorans in the U.S. often depend on the dozens of welfare programs available to them. Meanwhile, they send their excess back home. That cash, in turn, is used not only to support their families in Parador, but also to pay the Coyotes they hire to bring other family members north to the border.

There’s a tragic twist to all this that most Americans especially U.S. bishops, don’t understand.

Forever Obliged to the Cartels

If the illegal alien is refused entry at the border and is forced to return home, he does not get his money back. He goes home to Parador, and when he gets there, he has two options: if he saved the $5000 in advance to pay his passage, he’ll have to earn it all over again — which might take years for a Paradoran peasant. If he borrowed it on credit from the gangs, he’s in trouble. As a last resort, he might have to provide his wife and daughters to the Coyotes for sex trafficking.

If he doesn’t pay, he is killed, it’s that simple.

Trump’s Fighting for Women and Girls

Yes, the Coyotes are also sex traffickers. And Donald Trump’s battle against sex trafficking poses a grave danger to the Coyote international business model. Because with Trump’s aggressive anti-trafficking dragnet, it is not the innocent client illegal who is arrested, but the Coyote himself. Ironically, the program also threatens the U.S. Bishops’ business model, since they rely on those illegals who make it across for indispensable taxpayer funding for their NGO’s that care for refugees and illegal immigrants. These programs are as essential to the Coyote’s business model as the Paradoran gangs are.

This might explain why, when America’s Catholic bishops commemorate the International Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking every February 8, they never seem to mention the Coyotes. Could it be because they’re business partners?

President Trump’s successful effort has rounded up some 5,000 traffickers, and this fact highlights an issue that arose during the debates last Thursday. There, the President was asked about the fate of “children separated from their parents at the border.”

Taking Kids from their Kidnappers

Yes, it started with Obama, but consider: politics aside, Both Trump and Obama have daughters. Does any sane father think that U.S. policy should require that ICE house teen-age girls in crowded facilities alongside adults who have not even been screened? Even if her “parent” is an impostor who used her to enter as a “family”? Even if those adults might include abusers, sex traffickers, and other criminals who were caught pretending to be simple clients of the Coyotes?

Remember, Coyotes kill. In addition to thousands of illegals, they bring drugs, guns, sex slaves, and other contraband into our country. President Trump was right to condemn them. Democrats and Catholic bishops should too.


Christopher Manion earned a Ph.D. in government from Notre Dame. For many years he was the staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, chaired by the late Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C.


Editor’s Note: The Stream’s parent company, LIFE Outreach International is also involved in combating human trafficking through its RescueLIFE ministry. RescueLIFE goes into villages, reaching, educating and preventing children from becoming victims, rescuing those who have been victimized and restoring them by providing an environment where their hearts, minds and bodies can be restored to the beauty God designed for them. Please consider giving today to RescueLIFE to combat human trafficking worldwide.

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