North to Colorado: Fresnillo
December 21, 2005
Editor’s note: Mexico correspondent Alexis Charbonnier visited some of the cities and towns of Mexico with heavy migration to Colorado. The following accounts were gleaned from Mexicans who emigrate north, as well as those who remain behind.FresnilloFrom Fresnillo, a dusty, mid-sized town just off the Pan-American Highway, two Sol Azteca buses weekly run north to Trinidad, Walsenburg, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Aurora and Denver. Many people from nearby Valparaiso are heading to Denver, according to José Antonio Saldivar Duarte, 45, and his wife, María Elena Sánchez, also 45.
The pair runs the Azteca ticket office together. “This is a family business,” Sánchez said. “We know many of our riders personally.” Over at the competitors’ office, Javier Briones, 57, explained how the Paisanos system works. Omnibús de México, which runs buses out of Aguascalientes, has a contract to take people to the Paisano depot in El Paso, where they transfer to another bus for the last leg up to Colorado. From Fresnillo, buses run to Denver, Kansas and Oklahoma, with extensions to Nebraska and Iowa.”Most people going to Colorado are from the city of Fresnillo,” Briones said.
On the street across from the bus terminal, some companies are charging just $28 to Cuidad Juárez, a third of the regular fare. These companies, which ferry the poorest of the poor northward, get no respect from Briones. “The wildcat operators run buses in poor condition,” he said. “They don’t carry passenger insurance. If the bus breaks down, nobody picks up the riders.”Cheap bus service steals customers away from travel agencies, according to Hugo Carmona Reyes, a sales executive at Viajes Orbi, 28. It’s easy to see why: Only one airline flies to the U.S. from the Zacatecas airport, Mexicana, so there’s no competition. A round trip runs about $625.
Tourist visa holders who fly to Denver to work illegally must circumvent regulations.”Denver immigration policy said tourists must purchase a round-trip, to keep them from staying on to work,” Reyes said. “People just buy a one-way to Dallas and use ground transportation.”