Mexican authorities stopped dozens of migrants from reaching the US on freight trains in Mexico City on Friday in a major new law enforcement effort.
Thousands of people have used the freight trains, known as ‘The Beast’, to make a perilous journey across the US-Mexico border before crossing illegally.
Earlier this week, Mexican railway company Ferromex temporarily suspended 60 trains in the north of the country as migrants were injured while boarding the carriages. Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM) has since deployed agents to prevent people from boarding the ship, according to Reuters.
At a railway next to a landfill in Huehuetoca, a town north of Mexico City, about 40 INM agents in more than a dozen trucks drove alongside the tracks to cut off access to migrants and sent a drone to spot others who had entered in the surrounding hills.
MEXICAN TRAIN WITH HUNDREDS OF MIGRANTS STOPPED, PASSENGERS CHANT ‘LET’S KEEP GOING’
“They forced us off the railway line,” 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 said on Friday it would work with Ferromex to identify strategic points to prevent migrants from trying to board trains, Reuters reported.
Ferromex said on Wednesday that there had been about “half a dozen regrettable cases of injuries or deaths” caused by migrants boarding freight cars in recent days. He also said some immigrants they were jumping on moving freight cars “despite the serious danger it represents”.
MEXICO’S RAILROAD SUSPENDS RAILWAY OPERATIONS AFTER VIDEO SHOWING MIGRANTS DRIVING INTO US
The crackdown comes as desperate migrants increasingly seek access in the USA, overwhelming both Mexican and US border officials.
Migrants have long used the trains, known collectively as “The Beast,” to reach the U.S. border, and a video of a Ferromex train outside Zacatecas, Mexico, filled with migrants — headed for the southern U.S. border — went viral on Sunday.
When the company announced the decision to halt rail operations, it said there were about 1,500 migrants gathered at a rail yard in the city of Torreon, in the northern border state of Coahuila.
Despite the U.S.’s stern “Don’t come” message to migrants, migrants continue to make the trek in droves.
TEXAS STRUGGLES ARE TAKING PLACE AS LARGE GROUPS OF FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN TRAVEL TO THE SOUTHERN BORDER
Border patrols along it southern border have faced an overwhelming number of illegal crossings.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources told Fox News that last weekend, there were more than 35,000 immigration encounters along the southern border. On average, this equates to less than 9,000 migrant encounters per day.
Last month, more than 20,000 immigrants were in Border Patrol custody, according to a CBP source, in the Rio Grande Valley sector of Texas.
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The caravans headed for the southern border included families with infants and children, along with unaccompanied minors.
Of the families stopped along the Rio Grande Valley, many were released with future court dates.
Fox News’ Greg Wehner, Bill Melugin, Lawrence Richard and Reuters contributed to this report.