Group of migrants forced Mexican freight train to stop so they could hitch a ride north to U.S. border

October 8, 2023
Ben Marquis

In years past, thousands of migrants would work their way through Mexico toward the United States via massive and slow-moving organized caravans, but more recently that journey has been sped up significantly as migrants increasingly hitch rides aboard north-bound Mexican freight trains.

One such incident documented with photos earlier this week involved hundreds of migrants who "swarmed" a railroad track in front of an oncoming train and forced it to stop, according to Breitbart.

After the train was halted, the migrants climbed onboard and continued their way north to the U.S. border once the train began rolling again.

Migrants force freight train to stop

The train-halting incident that occurred earlier this week happened in the vicinity of Huichapan, Hidalgo, and was documented with photos taken by a train conductor using his cellphone.

Those photos revealed hundreds of migrants who had crowded the rail line to force the train to stop, with many of those migrants using the flashlight functions of their own cellphones to alert the train to their presence on the tracks in the dark.

The report indicated that hundreds of migrants then boarded the train without any interference from law enforcement and eventually continued on their way to various border cities and towns in the northern states of Mexico.

According to sources within Mexico's National Immigration Institute, incidents like this have become routine as migrants have increasingly begun to use the nation's system of cargo trains to substantially reduce the length of time it takes to travel from Mexico's southern and central states to the northern border region.

Rail service to Mexico's northern states temporarily paused

According to NBC News last month, the "unprecedented" number of thousands of migrants now using Mexico's freight trains -- collectively referred to as "The Beast" by the migrants themselves -- to travel north prompted a similarly unprecedented temporary halt to all rail traffic in Mexico's northern states by Ferromax, the nation's largest rail service provider.

Per a statement from the company, "the accumulation of migrants in recent days has increased significantly" and, after at least a half-dozen incidents of migrants falling off the trains or being run over, the decision was made to close certain routes in the northern states in order to "avoid accidents or loss of life."

Reuters reported late last month that Ferromax had temporarily halted roughly 60 trains that service Mexico's northern states, and while some of the routes had since been reopened, there have been instances of migrants becoming stranded in deserts and other areas far from cities and towns when the trains they were riding suddenly stopped, in some cases remaining halted for several days before resuming travel.

Those stoppages over the past few weeks have proven costly in terms of the economic disruption in stopping the flow of trade goods on those freight trains -- losses were estimated to top $1 billion -- to say nothing of the hardships also created for those who live in the Mexican cities and towns in the border region that rely on those trains to deliver needed items.

U.S. government supports halting of Mexican freight trains

At the time that Ferromax first called a halt to its northern rail routes, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told NBC, "We are encouraged by Ferromex’s announcement of suspended service on certain routes bound for the U.S.-Mexico border, in the interest of safety and security. We look forward to working with the operator to resume service, once it is safe to do so."

The spokesperson dubiously added, "The U.S. border is not open to illegal migration, and no one should believe the lies of smugglers who are putting migrants in deadly situations for profit. The fact is that individuals and families without a legal basis to remain in the United States will be removed."

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