1-900-MIGRATE

| Fri Aug. 25, 2000 12:00 AM PDT

Taking a lesson from the phone-sex and dial-a-psychic industries, the US State Department has hit on an ingenious scheme to squeeze a little extra cash from Mexicans seeking US visas -- one that may serve the bonus function of screening out those who can't afford to pay, reports PACIFIC NEWS SERVICE.

Recent Must Reads

8/24 - Dancehall deviants

8/23 - Stoners are better drivers

8/22 - Depleted uranium dumped in UK

8/19 - Rickets rebound

To enter the US legally, Mexican citizens need visas, which require an apppointment at the US embassy. Since 1997, one can only make an appointment by calling a 900 number that charges US$1.20 a minute -- no small sum in a country where unemployment is high and wages are typically one-tenth of what they are north of the border.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Telscape International, the (of course) US-based company that handles the calls, makes an estimated $20 to $30 million a year from Mexicans seeking a more comfortable way to get to Houston than hiding under the floorboards of a delivery truck.

Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.