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Coyotes -- Made in the U.S.A.

La Opinin, Posted: Jun 04, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- English, not Spanish or Chinese, is the "official" language among those who smuggle undocumented immigrants. Mexican authorities estimate that about 80 percent of so-called "coyotes" are U.S. citizens, reports Claudia Nuez for La Opinin. American traffickers tend to receive lighter sentences than their counterparts from other countries, according to La Opinin. A U.S. citizen could be arrested three times before going before a judge, and is typically detained for six hours and written up as a trafficker of undocumented immigrants. However, citizens of other countries are taken directly to a detention center to await their deportation, a process that could take up to three months. During this time, La Opinin reports, they may be processed for previous crimes and receive extended sentences.

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