EFETijuana, Mexico

The deaths earlier this week of 53 migrants in an overheated tractor-trailer in Texas points to an increase in the activity of traffickers, known as "coyotes," in northern Mexico due at least in part to Washington's use of Covid-19 as an excuse to keep asylum-seekers out of the United States.

Despite the risks and exorbitant fees demanded by the traffickers, activists in Tijuana, just across the border from San Diego, say they have seen more and more migrants resorting to coyotes during the last two years.

Coyotes are not a new phenomenon, Jose Luis Perez Canchola, a member of the Mexican Academy of Human Rights, told Efe.

What has changed, he said, is the intensification of links between coyotes and organized crime, which has found ways to profit from migration.