Q24N (Insightcrime.org) The United States’ Embassy in Honduras has warned of an increase in the demand for Honduran “coyotes” to smuggle people into the United States, a sign that President-elect Donald Trump’s electoral victory is already influencing the region’s criminal dynamics.
In a November 17 press release, the embassy cited “recent reports” of coyotes “using the results of United States presidential election as a ruse to lure Hondurans into giving them money to travel illegally to the United States.”
While the embassy did not specify which media reports it was referring to, La Prensa has reported an increase in the demand for smuggling services as a direct impact of Trump’s election on November 8.
The embassy warned of the dangers associated with the services provided by human smugglers, stating that “these criminals will lie to take your money and will abandon you at the first hint of danger.” The press release illustrated this by mentioning the 11 Honduran nationals who died last week while crossing through Mexico.
It also underlined that illegal immigration and deportation of undocumented immigrants has been a priority on the US agenda since 2014, perhaps an implicit way of arguing that Trump’s election may not constitute such a radical change for an undocumented migrant’s journey northwards.
The news of an increased demand for smuggling services from Honduras to the United States suggests Trump’s victory, less than two weeks old, is already beginning to influence organized crime and migration patterns in Central America.
As InSight Crime has previously explained, Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall along the US-Mexico border is likely to drive more Central American migrants into the clutches of human smugglers. As a recent study by the International Crisis Group found, migrant crackdowns at the US southern border and in Mexico have actually strengthened these smuggling groups, and that pattern will only accelerate if further border security measures are put in place.
But it appears this process has already started, which may be due to migrants hoping to cross into the United States before a Trump administration takes over in January.