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Mexicans Pay Bribes to Go Home for the Holidays

La Opinin, Posted: Dec 31, 2009

LOS ANGELES--An estimated 900,000 Mexicans go home for the holidays each December, and many of them are forced to pay bribes to customs and immigration agents, reports La Opinin. To reduce corruption and extortion by Mexican authorities, the Mexican government has expanded its Paisano Program, which provides information stations for travelers at airports and bus stations.

Extortion has declined since the program began in 1988, as more travelers feel safe filing complaints, according to Juan Marcos Gutierrez Gonzalez, Mexican consul general in Los Angeles. However, corruption continues to be a problem: Mexicans returning to Mexico this holiday season are expected to pay nearly $100 million in extortion to customs officials and police agents, according to a report by Mexico's Congress.

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