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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mexico Issues Tips on Crossing U.S. Border

LOS ANGELES -- When the desert is cool, as it is now, illegal immigration becomes a flood.

Of the million people who were arrested trying to sneak into the United States over the Mexican border last year, more than half were caught from January to April, the United States Border Patrol says.

To avoid detection, smugglers now lead people through more demanding and dangerous terrain; more than 300 people died trying to cross last year.

To help prevent death and deportation, the Mexican government has published a guide that advises its citizens on the intricacies of sneaking into the United States. It also gives tips on how migrants should conduct themselves after reaching the streets of the promised land.

The 31-page pamphlet, "Guide for the Mexican Migrant," has infuriated some U.S. politicians and citizens who say the Mexican government is effectively encouraging a criminal activity that is fraying the American cultural fabric and draining state and local municipalities.

The Mexican government says it is simply recognizing reality.

Many illegal immigrants living in Los Angeles said they had heard about the booklet, but few had actually seen it. A group of Latino men waiting for work outside the Home Depot superstore on Sunset Boulevard were offered copies of the booklet by a reporter. They freely admitted that they were in the United States illegally. That said, the men flipped through the booklet for a few minutes before dismissing the effort of the Mexican government.

"Useless," said Jorge Castillo, 30, a Guatemalan who has made the desert trek seven times in seven years.

"Trash," said Efrain Travolia, 35, a Mexican who speaks a little English. These men and a dozen others milling about offered a portrait of the trip and practical advice on how to make it and how to live upon arrival in Los Angeles.

The booklet warns the migrant that if he decides to use the services of a smuggler, he should not hand his children over to the smuggler, not carry packages or drive a vehicle for him, as they may contain drugs, and not trust his assurances. But the men said there is better advice that may save your life: "Never hire a coyote on the border," said Castillo, a thickly built man with whiskers and gold teeth, referring to the smugglers who guide illegal migrants into the United States. Have a friend recommend a contractor while you are in your hometown, he said. "This way, if anything happens to you, your family knows his family."