What It’s Like to Smuggle Humans

The Mexico-U.S. border is 1,969 miles long, and it’s the most frequently-crossed international border in the world. “Coyote” is the word for someone who, for a high fee, specializes in cross-border people smuggling. In this creative short film by Javier Barboza, we hear from one coyote—his true testimony is narrated by a professional actor—who smuggled hundreds of undocumented immigrants from various regions of Latin America into California. “Honestly, it was kind of like having them hostage for that moment,” he says. “Because they ain’t getting to their family unless they give me the money.”

For a glimpse into the different methods that Barboza employed while making this short (and there are many), you can watch this behind-the-scenes video.