Mexico reclaims migrant-shuttling ‘The Beast’ railroad concession

08/23/16 Reuters

migrants1Mexico’s Communications and Transport Ministry said on Tuesday it had taken over a concession to a southern railroad, whose trains are known locally as “The Beast,” which thousands of Central American migrants have used to hitch rides to the United States.

The ministry scrapped the concession, which had belonged to the Ferrocarriles Chiapas-Mayab rail company, on the grounds of “public interest, public usage and national security,” it said in a statement, without elaborating.

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Mexico is already the immigration ‘wall’ some politicians want

08/01/16 Los Angeles Times 

us mex flagMexico is a critical partner,” President Obama reminded reporters during a joint news conference with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on July 22, “and is critically important to our own well-being.” The two presidents praised not only their countries’ immense cross-border trade but also bilateral collaboration on energy, the environment and counter-narcotics. Left unmentioned in their opening remarks was another crucial way Mexico is helping its northern neighbor: as a buffer between the U.S. and Central America’s Northern Triangle, where gang violence, chronic corruption and endemic poverty drives hundreds of thousands from their homes each year.

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Mexico’s other border

06/14/2016 MSNBC

migrantesAlong the cocaine corridor that cuts north out of Central America, drug cartels are no longer the primary targets for Mexican police.

Migrants – many young men, mothers and children – are the nation’s new persons of interest.

An unprecedented number of Central Americans have been rounded up, arrested and deported by Mexican authorities over the last two years, part of a new crackdown on migration along the country’s southern border.

The result has effectively outsourced a solution to the United States’ most pressing concerns for its own borders. As deportations in Mexico rose, illegal border crossings in the U.S. dipped.

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Now or never: Trump’s ‘wall’ talk sparks migrant rush on U.S.-Mexico border

3/1/16 Reuters

Us-mexico-borderGang violence and poverty have for years pushed Mexicans and Central Americans north to the United States, but recently a new driver has emerged: the anti-immigrant tone of leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

From the slums of Central America to close-knit migrant communities in U.S. cities, Trump’s rise to the front of the Republican pack has not gone unnoticed and is partly behind a spike in the numbers of migrants trying to enter the country, including children traveling without guardians.

Interviews with migrants, people smugglers and officials show many migrants are trying to cross now instead of facing tighter policing and new policies to halt illegal immigration if Trump or another Republican wins the Nov. 8 election.

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Perilous Crossing in Arizona

10/27/2015 Los Angeles Times 

Border - Mexico

With a significant slowdown in the surge of migrants streaming across the Southwest border, it stands to reason that the number of deaths among those braving the crippling heat of Arizona’s desert frontier with Mexico would also decline. But it didn’t.

In fact, even more people died attempting the perilous crossing: 117 bodies have been recovered along migration routes in southern Arizona since Jan. 1, compared with 108 bodies during the same period last year.

What happened?

The answer lies in the nationality of the person generally found dead on the U.S.-Mexican border: In 85% of cases, they are Mexican, according to Pima County Medical Examiner Greg Hess. Most of the migrants who crossed the U.S. border last year were from violence-ridden countries in Central America who often turned themselves in to U.S. border agents and filed asylum petitions that allow them to remain in the U.S. until their cases are adjudicated.

But Mexican migrants tend to have different circumstances. Most who cross the border illegally face immediate arrest and deportation — and as a result, they often choose to evade detection by making their way up the deadly hot byways of the Arizona desert.

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Exploitation awaits migrant children on Mexico’s southern edge

08/02/14 Los Angeles Times

Street childrenThey are called canguritos, little kangaroos, because of the plastic trays of candy, cigarettes and other goods strapped across their bellies.

There is Juan Gonzalez, 10, selling gum for pennies. There are Humberto Vazquez, 11, and Wilmer Hernandez, 13, shining shoes.

And a few dark-skinned girls, none taller than 4 feet nor older than 12, wrapped in colorful indigenous cloth as skirts and offering tired pastries.

The northward passage of Central American children, many without their parents, is a familiar sight along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala. Though the exodus has been dominating U.S. headlines of late, tens of thousands of youngsters have waded the Suchiate River or floated across it on inner-tube rafts annually for many years.

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Mexico names czar to handle issue of Central American migrants

07/15/14 LA Times

barbed wire fenceWith pressure mounting from the U.S. government, Mexico on Tuesday appointed a czar to take charge of largely unimpeded migration from Central America, which sees tens of thousands of people each year enter southern Mexico and cross the country en route to the United States.

Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, in an announcement before reporters in Mexico City, said the new system would guarantee the safety of migrants as well as their eventual repatriation.

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