1-900-MIGRATE

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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.

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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.

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.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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