Mexico cargo trains halted after migrant deaths, injuries

Published : 20 Sep 2023 09:21 PM

Mexico's biggest rail operator said Tuesday that it had halted 60 freight trains after a surge in the number of US-bound migrants traveling on them led to deaths and injuries.

Ferromex said it had taken the measure due to a "notable increase" in migrant flows and the "severe risk" of riding on the trains clandestinely.

Several thousand irregular migrants were waiting on trains or in rail yards in cities along routes towards the US border, a company statement said.

"In recent days, nearly half a dozen unfortunate cases of injuries or deaths were recorded among groups of people who, individually or in families, including children, boarded freight trains heading north, despite the serious danger involved," it added.

Ferromex said that it was awaiting measures from authorities to resolve the situation, warning of a hit to supply chains and international trade.

For years migrants have climbed aboard freight trains -- including one railroad known as "The Beast" -- during the dangerous overland journey through Mexico to the United States.

They risk serious injury or death from accidents such as falling from the roof.

More than 8,200 migrants have died or disappeared in the Americas since 2014, most of them while trying to reach the United States via Mexico, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Transporting migrants by road, sometimes crammed into trucks without adequate ventilation, is one of the quickest but most dangerous methods used by people smugglers.