Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Thousands of Mexican Migrants Hitch a Ride to US Border on Freight Train Known as ‘The Beast’; Migrants Hoping to Reach US Continue North Through Mexico by Train Amid Historic Migration Levels

Thousands of Mexican migrants hitch a ride to US border on freight train known as ‘The Beast’:
Mexican authorities blocked dozens of migrants from hitching a ride to the U.S. on freight trains in Mexico City on Friday in a major new enforcement effort.
Thousands of people have used the freight trains, known as “The Beast,” to hitch a dangerous ride to the Mexico-U.S. border before they cross over illegally.
Earlier this week, the Mexican railway company Ferromex temporarily suspended 60 trains running in the northern part of the country as migrants are getting hurt while climbing aboard the freight cars. Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM) has since deployed agents to dissuade people from climbing aboard, according to Reuters.
At a railway alongside a trash dump in Huehuetoca, a town north of Mexico City, some 40 INM agents in more than a dozen vans drove alongside the tracks to cut off access to migrants and sent up a drone to locate others who had scrambled into the surrounding hills.
“They forced us away from the rail,” a Venezuelan migrant named Jason told Reuters. “We have no other options anymore.”
Migrants carrying backpacks and jugs of water made their way through tall grass under the hot sun to retreat on foot to the nearest town.
INM on Friday said it would partner with Ferromex to identify strategic points to dissuade migrants from attempting to board the trains, Reuters reported.
Ferromex said Wednesday there have been about a “half-dozen regrettable cases of injuries or deaths” caused by migrants hopping on freight cars in recent days. It also said some migrants were jumping onto moving freight cars “despite the grave danger that represents.” --->READ MORE HERE
Migrants hoping to reach US continue north through Mexico by train amid historic migration levels:
As a train roared in the distance, some 5,000 mostly Venezuelan migrants hoping to make it to the U.S. snapped into action.
Families with young children sleeping on top of cardboard boxes and young men and women tucked away in tents under a nearby bridge scrambled to pack their things. After the train arrived on the outskirts of the central Mexican city of Irapuato, some swung their bodies over its metal trailers with ease, while others tossed up bags and handed up their small children swaddled in winter coats.
“Come up, come up,” migrants atop the train urged those below. Others yelled, “God bless Mexico!”
After three days of waiting for the train that many in the group worried would never come, this was their ticket north to Mexico’s border with the United States.
Thousands of other migrants were stranded in other parts of the country last week after Mexico’s biggest railroad said it halted 60 freight trains. The company, Ferromex, said so many migrants were hitching rides on the trains that it became unsafe to move the trains. The company said it had seen a “half dozen regrettable cases of injuries or deaths” in a span of just days.
When the train arrived Saturday, “Ferromex” was painted on many of the gondolas. Local police were stationed around the improvised camp where the migrants had been waiting, but when the train stopped for about 30 minutes there was no attempt to stop migrants from climbing aboard.
Despite violence from drug cartels and the dangers that come with riding atop the train cars, such freight trains — known collectively as “The Beast” — have long been used by migrants to travel north.
The closures temporarily cut off one of the most transited migratory routes in the country at a time of surging migration, and left families like Mayela Villegas’ in limbo.
Villegas, her partner and their six children had spent three days sleeping on the concrete ground surrounded by masses of other migrants. Before boarding the train, the Venezuelan family said they had packed food for only a few days of train rides and struggled to feed their kids. --->READ MORE HERE
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