Immigrant Smugglers Using SMS to Avoid CaptureS

The path across the border from Mexico is a treacherous, often deadly one. To avoid capture, many paid guides are giving groups of northbound illegal immigrants some tech-omniscience—SMS recon, aimed at helping avoid US patrols and other dangers.

Messages like "Things are hot up ahead. Take cover in the bushes," the New York Times reports, are increasingly being beamed across the dicey border zones, not only giving migrant trekkers a heads-up, but keeping the well-paid guides out of direct danger.

The results are mixed. On the one hand, turn-by-turn directions are certainly helpful: "They tell you to turn right or left or to watch out for the [border patrol], explains one migrant.

On the other hand, when your only support team is one you can't see, and one only available via text, concrete confidence can be hard to instill in a group: "We felt all alone out there," says another migrant, whose phone was on the brink of dying as she was apprehended by border guards. "We felt like we were in God's hands...If you're without power or credit on your phone, you're dead." [NYT]