Thriving network of fixers preys on migrants crossing Mexico


              A migrant sits on the floor of a local's home where he is paying to stay while waiting on the Mexican immigration office to accept his application for legal migration documents and give a him "safe passage" permit in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. A local taxi driver rents out space to migrants looking for lodging, for 100 pesos, or about $5 dollars a night. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
            
              Migrants wait to apply for legal migration permits next to a mural that reads in Spanish "We must protect them and give them opportunities!" outside the National Immigration Institute in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. At every step in a complicated process, opportunists are ready to provide documents or counsel to migrants who can afford to speed up the system, and who don’t want to risk their lives packed in a truck for a dangerous border crossing. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
            
              Migrants wait inside a local's home they are paying to stay in while waiting on the Mexican immigration office to accept their application for legal migration documents and give them "safe passage" permits in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. A local taxi driver rents out space to migrants looking for lodging, for 100 pesos, or about $5 dollars a night. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
            
              Detained migrants stand in the outdoor area of the Siglo XXI Migrant Detention Center in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. Legal papers, freedom from detention, transit permits, temporary visas: All are available for a price via lawyers, fixers and middlemen. But even though the documents are legal and the cost can be several hundred dollars or more, migrants are at risk of arrest or return to their entry point as they make their way through the country, thanks to inconsistent policy enforcement and some corrupt officials at checkpoints. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
            
              Migrants rest after crossing the Suchiate River, the border between Guatemala and Mexico, near Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. There is a booming business for legal immigration papers that preys on migrants who are largely poor, desperate and unable to turn elsewhere. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
            
              An empanada vendor's stall advertises information, and immigration documents outside the main immigration office in Puebla, Mexico, Sept. 23, 2022. With soaring numbers of migrants entering Mexico, a sprawling network of lawyers, fixers and middlemen has exploded in the country.  (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
            
              A Mexican immigration officer checks the documents of migrants waiting in line to apply for legal migration papers outside the National Migration Institute in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. Many migrants travel through Mexico using “safe passage” permits, the common term for some of the temporary documents issued by the Mexican government. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
            
              Public Defender Monica Vazquez waits outside an immigration office to visit detained migrants in Puebla, Mexico, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. The Federal Institute of Public Defenders has alleged in complaints that immigration officials are working in collusion with a private law firm at the expense of migrants’ rights.  The institute says that in response, some of its employees, such as Vazquez, have been harassed and intimidated. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
            
              A migrant rests inside a local's home he is paying to stay in while waiting on the Mexican immigration office to accept his application for legal migration documents and give a him "safe passage" permit in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. A local taxi driver rents out space to migrants looking for lodging, for 100 pesos, or about $5 dollars a night. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
            
              Tents are set up by Mexican migration authorities in San Pedro Tapanatepec, Oaxaca, Mexico Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. Officials here issued transit permits until the camp was closed in mid December. Before getting here, some migrants said they spent several days in detention in Tapachula; others said they were released immediately. Some were let go for free and others after paying up to $500 to a lawyer. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
            
              Migrants walk outside the National Immigration Institute in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2022. When migrants arrive to the main crossing point into southern Mexico they soon learn the only way to cut through the red tape and speed up what can be a months-long process is to pay someone.   (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
            
              Venezuelan migrants cross the Suchiate River on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, near Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas state, Mexico, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. Many migrants are given expulsion orders, but also told they can exchange those documents for transit permits if they made it to a small town about 185 miles (300 kilometers) north, San Pedro Tapanatepec. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
            
              Migrants wait in line for their turn to apply for legal migration documents outside the National Immigration Institute in Tapachula, Chiapas state, Mexico, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. Migrants use “safe passage” permits _ the common term for some of the temporary documents issued by the Mexican government. Most allow the holder to leave the country through any border, including the one with the United States. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
Thriving network of fixers preys on migrants crossing Mexico