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ABCs of Migration

The ABCs of migration costs: Assembling, bajadores, and coyotes

Anna Ochoa O'Leary*


In efforts to avoid detection by border enforcement agents, undocumented migrants from Latin America often risk life and limb to enter the U.S. Most commonly, they walk two to four days through an inhospitable desert in hopes of being picked up and whisked away to their final destination. Cost in human lives not withstanding, the price of this venture correlates to increased border enforcement. Interviews with repatriated migrant women on the border helps uncover this economic “underbelly” of transnational movement in what I dub the ABCs of migration costs: those related to assembling, bajadores (border bandits), and coyotes. 

* Lecturer at Mexican American Studies and Research Center, University of Arizona,

Tucson, Arizona, USA. Email:


Full Article: ABCs of Migration_2009_ML