Debbie Nathan notes an unintended consequence of the latest immigration crackdown:
The intent of the new policy is to eradicate employment opportunities in the US for the undocumented. Of course, we're talking only about the overground economy, including the agricultural sector….Meanwhile, there's the black market—which is far more about female nannies and house cleaners than about crack dealer dudes. Employers of domestic help rarely pay social security, and the government certainly won't be knocking on the doors of lady bosses in the West Village or Brentwood, much less checking ID amid the Bugaboos in Washington Square Park.
Still, for Central American and Mexican women, there's the fabled, illegal trip across the evil Rio Grande or Arizona desert, with the snakes and dehydration and sexually assaultive "coyotes"—the smugglers. Who wants to risk that?
Plenty of distaffers. Studies show that half of illegal immigrants coming from the south today are female. And Jose explained to me yesterday that crossing for women is getting downright convenient, thanks to the US government….He knows lots of people who've always used smugglers, and until recently, he says, the coyotes were a nasty lot. "They would cross 40 people at a time, impose the charges at the border, make everyone walk three to six days to San Antonio, often rob customers, and frequently rape the women travelers."
But now, Jose says, all those Border Patrol agents are having an effect. It's so hard to cross now that fewer people are coming. This has created intense competition among the coyotes, who have responded by vastly improving their services…."And they're much nicer to women now. No more robberies. No rapes. They know it will get out by word of mouth, and they desperately want to maintain and expand their customer base."