JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Mexican federal officials are trying to prevent migrants from traveling to the U.S. border on top of train cars.
The move comes after Border Report and multiple news outlets documented the arrival of hundreds of South and Central Americans to Juarez on cargo trains that stop on the outskirts of Juarez.
On Friday, the National Migration Institute (INM) and two of Mexico’s largest rail companies signed a memorandum of understanding to allow INM officers to ask migrants to get off the trains and to disseminate information about the dangers of this form of travel.
“Our message is: Don’t get on trains because it is dangerous and it could kill you,” said Juan Carlos Loera, the Mexican federal government’s representative in the state of Chihuahua. “We want to protect them; we want to prevent accidents. Let’s remember that Mexican immigration policy is not the use of the stick, law enforcement first. It is one of offering to rescue people who have endured much suffering. [….] Still, we must inhibit dangerous migration practices.”
The agreement calls for inspections of Ferromex and Ferrosur trains coming from the Southern state of Chiapas in the Central Mexico states of Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Aguascalientes and Guanajuato. No trains run directly from the Mexico-Guatemala border to the U.S.-Mexico border, so the inspections will focus on rendering aid to migrants who are halfway to their destination. More inspections will take place in the border states of Chihuahua, Baja California, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.
Loera said numerous incidents of migrants either getting hurt, maimed or killed falling off trains have been documented. “We want to have safe and orderly migration while safeguarding the human rights on those who are in transit, particularly vulnerable groups,” he said.
In a statement, the INM said many of the migrants riding atop train cars or between the cars are families, the elderly or those with physical disabilities.
“Those are vulnerable groups that (Mexico) cannot deport” without due process, Loera said.