My current wip is about a young Mexican man trying to sneak into the US. He's helped by coyotes (men who get you across the border for a price) and he interacts with several other people in his position.
The problem is I don't know what to call these people. They aren't illegal immigrants, or illegals, because they're still in Mexico. Part of the story takes place in the desert on the US side, but I don't want to suddenly change what I'm calling them at the end of the book. Several people have names, but while in the desert he sees other groups of people trying to cross and I can't figure out what to call them!
I'm open to slang or derogatory expressions, but most of them only refer to Mexicans already in the US illegally. I really appreciate your input.