Beyond 'Coyotes': Current Trends in the Facilitation of Irregular Migration in Latin America | Wilson Center
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Beyond 'Coyotes': Current Trends in the Facilitation of Irregular Migration in Latin America

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

For generations, the persona of the coyote, or smuggler, as facilitator of irregular migration has been a central figure in Latin American migrants’ accounts of their journeys ‘up north.’ While traditionally viewed as providing a necessary service, smugglers are increasingly depicted as violent and predatory men often operating in collusion with other illicit networks for the sole purpose of obtaining financial profits. This narrative, while compelling, often obscures the fact that migrants' reliance on coyotes is a response to multiple factors. 

This event shifts the focus away from the coyote. It sheds light on how, across Latin America, the increasingly punitive nature of immigration enforcement, shifting migration trends, and the presence of other actors — including those from other illicit markets — have altered the landscape of traditional irregular migration facilitation strategies, often to the detriment of migrants’ safety.

Join us for a discussion about current trends in smuggling and its organization, the shifting roles of migrants in the market, and the additional criminal risks many of them face as a result. Speakers will present findings from their research in South and Central America, Mexico, and the U.S.-Mexico border:

Welcome and Moderator: 

Eric L. Olson, Senior Adviser, Mexico Institute; Deputy Director, Latin American Program Wilson Center


Dr. Victoria Stone Cadena: "Coyoterismo in the Americas: the myths of mobility" 
Associate Director, Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Dr. Gabriella E Sanchez: "Care, protection and support during smuggling journeys in the Central America-Mexico -US Mexico border migration corridor" 
Research Fellow, Migration Policy Centre, The Robert Schuman Centre, European University Institute

Dr. Sheldon Zhang: "Migrant Smuggling and its convergence with other illicit markets along the US Mexico Border" 
Chair and Professor, School of Criminology and Justice Studies, University of Massachusetts Lowell


Dr. Louise Shelley
Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Endowed Chair; Director, Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC), Schar School of Policy and Government,  George Mason University

Event Co-Sponsor