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Linda asks…

Can You Believe This Cheap Mexican airlines are taking Mexican right to our border for illegal immigration?

MEXICALI, Mexico – Among travelers, it’s jokingly known as Aeromigrante – Migrant Air.

New discount airlines in Mexico are doing a brisk business shuttling migrants to the U.S. border, turning what was once a days-long trek into an easy hop for legions of workers, both legal and illegal.

“It’s much more comfortable than the bus and about the same price,” said Leopoldo Torres, 37, of Mexico City, as he stretched his legs aboard Volaris Flight 190 to the border city of He and a traveling companion, Julio Menéndez, paid $118 each for the three-hour flight. They planned to cross into the United States illegally through the California desert.

Such migrants have become bread-and-butter customers for airlines Volaris, Avolar, Alma, Viva Aerobus, Interjet and Click, all of which have started up in the past two years. Older carriers such as Aero California and Aviacsa have cut their own prices to compete.

“The most productive routes we have are cities where you have those passengers who are traveling with the idea of the American Dream,” said Luis Ceceña, a spokesman for Avolar. About 70 percent of Avolar’s passengers are migrants, he said.

For some airlines like Avolar, the emphasis on migrant travel was a conscious decision, with company officials structuring their routes and fares around migrants’ needs, he said. For others, it was simply a side effect of low prices, which have opened up air travel to millions of poorer Mexicans.

The airlines say they treat migrants like any other passengers. The Mexican government has promised to try to slow emigration by creating jobs in Mexico. But by law, Mexican authorities and companies cannot impede the free travel of their fellow citizens, even if they suspect they are going to cross the U.S. border illegally.

Heading for the desert
Travelers planning to cross illegally are easy to spot. At the Hermosillo airport, a major crossroads for migrants headed to the Arizona desert, they are the men traveling in groups of three and four, wearing new sneakers or hiking boots and carrying nothing but backpacks.

“Altar! Naco! Nogales!” taxi dispatcher Javier Montaño shouted outside the airport as he directed travelers to vans headed to the main staging grounds for illegal border crossers.

Because of the increased traffic, Mexican immigration agents now check the IDs of all arriving passengers, even on domestic flights, to try to catch Central American migrants headed to the border. In Hermosillo, federal police conduct spot checks on the vans before they leave the airport.

“By law, we can’t stop the Mexican (migrants),” police Officer Carlos Zequera Arias said. “But the Central Americans are starting to get on these flights, too.”

Falling prices
Until the flood of discount airlines began in 2005, air travel in Mexico was too expensive for most poor Mexicans. A one-way flight from central Mexico to Tijuana ran $300 or more on the country’s two flag carriers, Aeromexico and Mexicana.

For most migrants, getting to the border meant days of travel on long-distance buses – or for the very poor, a harrowing and illegal ride on Mexico‘s railways while clinging to a freight car.

The discount airlines cut costs by copying the business model of U.S. carrier Southwest Airlines. They fly out of smaller airports, make several stops on the same trip, bypass travel-agent fees by selling directly to customers, and concentrate on a few high-volume routes instead of a hub-and-spoke system.

Typical fares to Tijuana from Toluca, just east of Mexico City, are now around $150 on the discount airlines.

That has opened up air travel to millions of new customers, said José Calderoni, marketing director for Volaris. About one-third of the airline’s passengers have never flown before, he said.

Overall, the number of Mexicans flying has jumped 36 percent since 2004. About 13.4 million people took domestic flights from January to June, according to Mexico‘s Institute of Statistics, Geography and Information Processing.

The discount airlines have been adding planes and routes at a breakneck pace. Avolar has grown from one jetliner and three destinations to nine with 16 destinations. Viva Aerobus has 21 destinations and plans to double its fleet to 10 jets from five. Interjet has nine planes and says it will order 20 more. Alma has 15 regional jets and 25 destinations, Volaris has 12 planes and 17 destinations, while Click has 26 destinations with 18 planes and six on order.
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Tijuana answers:

To law above me- they were here first? Who is they? If you are refering to the Olmec, Izapa, Teotihuacan, Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, Huastec, Tarascan, “Toltec” and Aztec indigenous groups that were the first “Mexicans” then I have news for you: approx 95% of the idigenous populations died from disease and war when the spanish came over. Look it up. Today’s Mexicans are mostly of Spanish descent (infact only about 11% of the Mexican population is of true indigenous blood) and therefore we have a much right to the land as they do.

Diana- just HOW MUCH money has Mexico contributed over the yrs to aid 3rd world countries? The mexican officials down there are far more greedy than americans

George asks…

What do you think happened to this family who disappeared in Tijuana on Feb. 2,?

And are any of us safe crossing the border these days? I go to Tijuana for medical reasons, and I need to go back, but I am really shocked and fearful since the missing family has never been found. My guess is they are all 6 ft under.

Tijuana answers:

Oh my god , I live in SD. They disappeared in Bonsall, a rural upscale neighborhood very far from MX!! Thats an 1 1/2 hours north!! That has NOTHING to do with mexico!! It was probably a crazy parent that murderd his whole family or a crazy person here. There car was found some what near the border, so what- the entire city is somewhat near the border. TJ??? Fact Check???


Here is a quote from the Investigaters from a news article!! “As far as the vehicle being left in a parking lot of a popular shopping center strip mall in San Ysidro, I don’t believe it was Joseph and his family that drove that vehicle there and parked it”

Steven asks…

Is it safe traveling to mexico by car?

so this summer my family is traveling to mexico for a few weeks. We are wondering if its safe going by car? We are not going anywhere near Juarez thats for sure.

Tijuana answers:

I live in Baja and can honestly tell you that life here doesn’t look at all like how I see it on US television news.

Not a single innocent tourist or foreign resident like me has been affected… No injury, no deaths. I travel through Tijuana all the time and it is no different than any big city.

If you stick to the tourist and commercial areas, use common sense, you won’t have problems.

Crime still exists, so you have to watch out for yourself. Again, common sense will guide you since it is not any different in that regard in Mexico than in any other big city in the world.

The violence resulting from drug cartel vs. Drug cartel. “Civilians” like us can stay clear of it, and the media is blowing it way out of proportion anyway.

Come and enjoy!

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