Mexican Railway Operator Suspends Routes to Prevent Migrant Deaths

The Mexican railway operator, Ferromex, has made the decision to suspend 60 of its routes due to an increasing number of migrants hitching rides on its freight trains. The company aims to avoid accidents or loss of life by halting the service on trains traveling towards Mexico’s border with the US. This move comes as Ferromex experienced an unprecedented surge of migrants attempting to board their trains. Many migrants view these freight trains, commonly known as “La Bestia” (The Beast), as a means to expedite their 3,000km journey from Mexico’s southern border to its northern border. Unfortunately, riding on the train’s roof or clinging to its sides is highly perilous, and migrants risk injuries, death, and limb amputation if they fall. Additionally, these trains are also targeted by criminal gangs who rob, rape, and extort migrants. This suspension of routes is a response to the recent cases of injuries and deaths among migrants. The situation is further exacerbated by the increasing number of children migrating through Mexico to the US, as highlighted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef). Unicef reports record numbers of children migrating through Latin America and the Caribbean due to factors such as gang violence, instability, poverty, and climate-related events. The US Customs and Border Protection disclosed that over 83,000 children had already crossed the southern US border in the first seven months of 2023. This decision by Ferromex sheds light on the urgent need to address the risks faced by migrants while also acknowledging the alarming situation of child migration in the region.