Coyote use in an era of heightened border enforcement: New evidence from the Arizona-Sonora border

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24 Scopus citations


This article utilises unique survey data from wave I of the Migrant Border Crossing Study (n = 415) to examine how people facilitate unauthorised crossing attempts through southern Arizona. The analysis expands on previous studies in two important ways: first, it focuses exclusively on one of the busiest regions of the US–Mexico border for unauthorised migration in an era of heightened border enforcement, and second, it distinguishes between two main coyote types: ‘border business' and ‘interior’. Findings suggest migrants with more crossing experience and those who crossed during peak migration months have lower odds of travelling with ‘interior' coyotes, while with opposite is true for people with weak ties in their desired US destination. Results also indicate that women are more likely than men to travel with both coyote types. Conversely, more experienced migrants have higher odds of crossing with family/friends than either coyote type. First-time crossers also have greater odds of travelling with family/friends than ‘interior' coyotes, but not ‘border business' coyotes. Overall, results highlight important differences between coyote types and point to the continued importance of social network ties, first-hand migration experience, and gender in the social process of migration. Implications for future research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-119
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • border crossings
  • Coyotes
  • unauthorised Mexican migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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