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Were you familiar with this term last week?


Were you familiar with this term last week?   

251 members have voted

  1. 1. Before the last US Presidential Debate this week, were you familiar with the term "coyote" in reference to a human smuggler trafficker-slave trader? If you've lived in the US, what regions have you lived in. If you've never lived in the US, what countries have you lived in?

    • No, this is the first time I've ever heard that term used.
      19
    • No, I had never heard that term used before the debate.
      5
    • Yes, I had heard that term before the debate, but I've never personally used it in a conversation.
      127
    • Yes, I had heard that term before the debate and I've personally used it in conversation.
      103


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1 hour ago, Spryte said:

Have not heard the word used for human traffickers, but more like a guide hired to help people cross the border.  
 

I lived and worked in the SW.  Probably learned the word in that context in the early 90s, in NM.  Definitely had conversations about it.

Many (most?) of the people hired to transport people across the border then traffic those same people to “pay off the debt”. 

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I'm familiar with the term and probably haven't used it myself.  I grew up in southern CA, spent 7 years in northern CA, another 7 years in southern CA, and 20 years in western WA.  

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Yes. PNW. I have heard it used for years. I thought it was a term in common usage? I would expect most people know the term. I assume I have used the word in conversations about people crossing the US border. 

Edited by Tap
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I have known and used the term for decades. Army kid, mostly grew up in Europe, moved to New England at 18. I read a lot of mystery books as a kid, and the TV shows that the Army imported for us were mostly cop shows. I think I first knew the term from either the books or those old cop shows. I also go to all the museums I can, and have been to the national border patrol museum in El Paso TX.

Trump has definitely referred to coyotes a bunch of times prior to the debate.

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Yes, and I've used it in real life, but I talk about trafficking more than your average person.

I only use the term for someone smuggling people north, usually overland, to the US or Canada from Central America though.  I use different words for human smugglers in other parts of the world.  Coyote is a regional word to me, but with broader understanding since there's so much news coverage of the southern US border in comparison with most other borders in the world.

Edited by Amira
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I've always heard it used as a person bringing immigrants across the Mexican border, not so much human trafficking. Although it is usually reserved for unscrupulous people, leaving them to die in the desert or changing up the fees at the last minute, as far as I know. I don't recall when I first heard the term. I don't know that I've ever had the opportunity to use it in a conversation; I don't discuss the topic much IRL. I am in the Midwest, and I have always lived in the Midwest.  

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U.S. East Coast (Florida) and I've heard it but never used it in a conversation. I think it's regional in the sense that it refers to a very specific type of people smuggler bringing Central and South Americans into the U.S. through Mexico. Not regional in the sense that people in other areas have never heard of or used the term. 

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Sure, I am familiar with the term. I've no idea when I first heard it, or where I lived when I did. I spent most of my life on the west coast (SF Bay Area, then Portland OR area) and now am in Philadelphia area. 

 

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I have heard it and used it in conversation to refer to people who carry people over the border between US and Mexico without going through customs. I have never heard it used in reference to slave trading, but it does make sense that victims of human trafficking that cross the border might be carried over the border in this manner.

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Mid-Atlantic region all my life. Knew this term for a human smuggler and used it in conversation since long ago. Also, at least one book I read had to do with immigrants coming here using a coyote, so again, not a new term for me at all. 

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Thanks for the responses. 

This is the article I saw that made me wonder how many people in the US were unfamiliar with the word.
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/conservatives-rip-liberals-for-misunderstanding-trumps-coyote-reference-during-debate?fbclid=IwAR1LAJ79W9da7MSH8Ae02RDLZOJTUh2L38ed2xnGrYX322DllExR6t9eExM

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2 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Thanks for the responses. 

This is the article I saw that made me wonder how many people in the US were unfamiliar with the word.
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/conservatives-rip-liberals-for-misunderstanding-trumps-coyote-reference-during-debate?fbclid=IwAR1LAJ79W9da7MSH8Ae02RDLZOJTUh2L38ed2xnGrYX322DllExR6t9eExM

This is perhaps a good example of what happens when people have a particular image in their head about (anybody) and they leap on something that confirms their bias. In this case, the belief is, “Trump is an idiot.” So they hear something they don’t understand and leap on the “Trump is an idiot” interpretation. 

 

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12 minutes ago, Quill said:

This is perhaps a good example of what happens when people have a particular image in their head about (anybody) and they leap on something that confirms their bias. In this case, the belief is, “Trump is an idiot.” So they hear something they don’t understand and leap on the “Trump is an idiot” interpretation. 

 

Yep.  When I asked this on FB someone who is definitely no supporter of Trump told me she figured it out by context as it was the first time she'd heard the term. 

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

This is perhaps a good example of what happens when people have a particular image in their head about (anybody) and they leap on something that confirms their bias. In this case, the belief is, “Trump is an idiot.” So they hear something they don’t understand and leap on the “Trump is an idiot” interpretation. 

 

On the flip side, I can pretty much guarantee you that at least *some* of those people were joking and knew perfectly well that "coyote" is a word with two meanings, but they thought it was funnier to pretend they didn't.

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2 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Thanks for the responses. 

This is the article I saw that made me wonder how many people in the US were unfamiliar with the word.
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/conservatives-rip-liberals-for-misunderstanding-trumps-coyote-reference-during-debate?fbclid=IwAR1LAJ79W9da7MSH8Ae02RDLZOJTUh2L38ed2xnGrYX322DllExR6t9eExM

That is just bizarre.

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17 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

On the flip side, I can pretty much guarantee you that at least *some* of those people were joking and knew perfectly well that "coyote" is a word with two meanings, but they thought it was funnier to pretend they didn't.

That crossed my mind as well. I know sarcasm and hyperbole run strong on Twitter.

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2 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

On the flip side, I can pretty much guarantee you that at least *some* of those people were joking and knew perfectly well that "coyote" is a word with two meanings, but they thought it was funnier to pretend they didn't.

I agree some of that was going on too, but there were people in these reports and others who didn't.

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3 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

Stupid article cherry-picking stupid comments (some on purpose). I have no patience for this sort of “journalism”. I am sorry that I gave it a click. 

My whole iPad screen went crazy every time I clicked on it. Maybe someone was trying to warn me away from bad journalism?

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3 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

I agree some of that was going on too, but there were people in these reports and others who didn't.

Sure, because there's always some people who are a little slower on the uptake.

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I’m sorry I clicked on a link that wants to offer me a free political novelty, but it gives some context for the article content!

I do find it “odd” (for lack of a better word) that not everyone, in the US at least, knows the term, but it’s so specific that it does make sense that there will be people who are less aware of the ins and outs (man, that’s a crummy unintentional pun) of the realities of border crossing.  Still, if I were having a conversation with someone and they didn’t understand, my eyes would squint, head would tilt, and “Really???” Would probably come out of my mouth.

I could make a list of words I think conservatives might not be familiar with, but that would be petty. 😉 

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4 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

 Still, if I were having a conversation with someone and they didn’t understand, my eyes would squint, head would tilt, and “Really???” Would probably come out of my mouth.

I could make a list of words I think conservatives might not be familiar with, but that would be petty. 😉 

I'm stunned to find out in this poll how few Americans have used the term in conversation.  I mean, when people talk about border and immigration issues, how are they not including coyotes in the discussion?  And it has nothing at all to do with which political party people are affiliated with. (Hopefully posters here aren't getting their knickers in a twist jumping to the conclusion that I'm taking a shot at Liberals; I'm clearly posting asking if there really are people who don't already know this. If I assumed the article was accurately representative of people who didn't, I wouldn't have a reason to poll asking about it.)  Coyotes are part of the issue of how to deal with border issues regardless of which party a person is part of.  Right now I'm trying to figure out how a conversation about border issues goes without including coyotes.

It just goes to show how regional news in the US is in spite of national news media.  It surprised me to see different meanings the word has for different posters too. Additionally, it appears people aren't labeling portions of human trafficking as modern day slavery and those who trade in modern day slaves the same way. It's been an eye opener all around.

 

11 hours ago, Frances said:

My whole iPad screen went crazy every time I clicked on it. Maybe someone was trying to warn me away from bad journalism?

That's why I'm polling people, because I found it hard to believe there were people unfamiliar with the term before Trump used it,  but here we are.

4 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

 

dp

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I've known the term, but I don't recall using it in conversations.  Not that there is anything wrong with doing so, I just think I would be more likely to use words like "smuggler" or "child trafficker" etc.

I asked my 13yo and she understood from context what was meant.  She was previously aware of the way kids get into the US illegally without parents.  She was surprised that literate adults would not understand what was meant.

(We live in the Great Lakes region.)

Edited by SKL
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