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slang for border crossers


What is the Mexican slang word for laborers who cross the U.S./Mexican border illegally?

updated DIC 5, 2009
posted by Bruce-DeLaney

3 Answers


Are you looking for a Spanish version of "wetback" or similar terms? You mention laborer. Are you talking about a day laborer, an undocumented laborer (who could have crossed legally), a seasonal (migrant) worker, or someone who illegally immigrates to find a better job and lifestyle, someone who crossed legally and then stayed illegaly?

updated ABR 20, 2011
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507

Mexicans use "mojados" to describe undocumented workers. "Mojados" means "Wetbacks." (To me, personally, "Wetback" is as derogatory as is "Kike," "Wap," "Spic," and the "N-word.")

Mexicans also use "illegales," less frequently.

When I see them here in southern Arizona, I address them as "Señor, Señora" (etc.) and "Amigo" when they are in desperate need of help.

updated ABR 20, 2011
edited by 0057ed01
posted by 0057ed01
"Indocumentado" is the normal word used in México. - Mokay, DIC 5, 2009

Although this has less to do with laborers, "coyotes" is a (more or less) slang term for someone who does one or both of the following:

  1. Smuggles drugs across the border (This is the main use for the word)
  2. People who make a living by leading people across the border. (this has other names as well, but the word "coyote" is less commonly used to describe this group of people)

I cannot remember some of the other terms for the people who lead people across the border right now, but, I think I remember reading about it online at the Border Patrol site. Hope this helps!

updated DIC 5, 2009
posted by JCameron
Polero is also common hereabouts... - 0057ed01, DIC 5, 2009
"Pollero". - Mokay, DIC 5, 2009
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