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Crosses left by border activists mark the locations where the remains of migrants were discovered in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Two men who work as coyotes, or human smugglers, told Noticias Telemundo that for those desperate enough, a payment of $8,000 each will suffice to get them into the U.S. through the desert.

Details: To cross people by car, hiding them in secret compartments, they’ll charge up to $20,000 because the coyotes swear U.S. immigration officers get a cut to turn a blind eye.

What they’re saying: Walking through the desert “is the hardest route, but also the safest: there’s less vigilance” from authorities, smuggler Orlando told Noticias Telemundo. To cross someone by car “we get notice [from la migra] of a specific time and which of the inspection lines to queue up in,” the coyote said.

By the numbers: The typical desert trek skirts the border wall and takes from four hours to four days depending on the time of year.

  • The Border Patrol found 300 bodies in the last fiscal year of people who died crossing the desert en route to the border, due mostly to hypothermia and dehydration.
  • The number of unaccompanied minors attempting to cross to the U.S. could balloon to 26,000 by September from the current 16,000, according to official documents leaked to Axios.

This story first appeared in Axios Latino, a weekly collaboration between Axios and Noticias Telemundo. Sign up here.

Go deeper

Bipartisan lawmakers introduce bill demanding a border surge plan

Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.). Photo: Justin Hamel/AFP via Getty Images

A bipartisan bill introduced Thursday would require the Department of Homeland Security to make a plan for managing surges at the U.S.-Mexico border, which could unlock emergency funds.

Why it matters: Bipartisan agreement on immigration is rare, but both Republicans and a handful of Democrats have expressed concern about the mounting humanitarian crisis at the border.

Scoop: Biden eyes Russia adviser criticized as soft on Kremlin

Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

President Biden is considering appointing Matthew Rojansky, head of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, as Russia director on the National Security Council, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: Rojansky has been praised for his scholarship on Russia and is frequently cited in U.S. media for his expert commentary. But his work has drawn criticism — including in a 2018 open letter from Ukrainian alumni of Kennan that blasted the think tank he runs as an "unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak.
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings.
  5. World: Iran tightens COVID restrictions amid fourth wave of pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.