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IPFS News Link • Immigration

A Venezuelan Explains How (and Why) Criminal Migrants Get to the US

• By Daniela Gonzalez

How are migrants from Venezuela getting from their country to the US border? Are they walking? if so, how long does it take and how are they equipped for it? If not, how are they getting there? Are they criminals? Are they crossing other borders legally? Is someone funding this?

As a Venezuelan, I hope to answer some of these questions for you.

How do Venezuelans travel to the southern US border?
You may already be aware of the dangerous Darien jungle crossing. It's a remote area in Panama with no road through it. There is no way to know how many people have perished there. People die not only because the jungle is already a very dangerous place for the untrained. It's the gangs taking advantage of whomever they find. There are enough horror stories in the media to traumatize anyone for life.

Just as general information: previous to this nightmare of a walk, there were enough borders to cross that is not so easy to go through, even for a regular citizen. However, for some reason, hordes of people carrying suitcases and all sorts of bags just walk through. There are eight (yes, EIGHT) countries to cross by foot to reach the Southern Border of the US. How someone without money can do it, is an unnerving question.

And a much more unnerving one is how criminals do it.

The first leg is over 500 miles (+800km) from Caracas, Venezuela to Cucuta, Colombia. This leg is relatively easy because it is a very beaten path with plenty of bus services.

From Cucuta, the next leg is going to Necocli, Colombia, covering a similar distance. This is a coastal town. They can reach from there to several points at the coastline. From there, the crossing is by foot until the Southern Border through Panama, Honduras, and Mexico.

This is one of the paths they follow, like many migrants trying to cross.

The story of this handicapped migrant is something different. He and his family spent $7000 on the whole journey. How someone decides to use that amount of money to cross one of the most dangerous areas in South America is beyond my common sense.

That money could get someone a small hacienda to live in and have basic needs covered, including a vehicle.