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Human smuggling in Tampa Bay: What’s driving the spike? [NBC | CAIR-FL' s Immigration Attny. Sichta]

By Mahsa Saeidi, For NBC News Tampa, On 23 November 2021, Read Original
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Just days after 8 On Your Side first reported on the recent spike in human smuggling across the Tampa Bay area, the Florida Highway Patrol released new dashcam video showing troopers stop yet another vehicle illegally bringing undocumented migrants to Florida. So what is drawing migrants to the Sunshine State?

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“This is called a coyote process, the people who bring them are called coyotes, they do it for pay,” said Bob Sichta, an immigration attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida.

According to Sichta, the border is currently flooded with migrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Cuba and Mexico. Many headed specifically to Florida are looking for work in agriculture. “We grow half the United States’ use of tomatoes here in Florida,” Sichta explained. “Some growers are being fooled by them because they are given fake IDs by the coyotes. Some of the growers are in league with them, not very many, but it doesn’t take very many for this to happen.”

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Meanwhile, Sichta says work isn’t the only draw for migrants. Many are fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries. “Things are unsafe in these places,” said Sichta. “They have some of the greatest food shortages you’ve ever seen – particularly in places like Venezuela.” “They have more gang violence and domestic relations violence you’ve ever seen in the Central American spine.”

* Full Story: https://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/human-smuggling-in-tampa-bay-whats-driving-the-spike/

** Full Story in Spanish: WFLA Tampa Hoy: https://www.wfla.com/tampa-hoy/noticias-locales/trafico-de-personas-en-la-bahia-de-tampa-que-esta-impulsando-el-aumento 

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