A major railway operator in Mexico, Ferromex, has announced a temporary suspension of train services in the northern part of the country due to an increase in the number of migrants climbing aboard freight cars. The company has ordered a halt to 60 trains carrying cargo, which would fill approximately 1,800 tractor trailers, impacting some international trade operations. Ferromex stated that in recent days, there have been several cases of injuries or deaths among migrants attempting to hop onto moving freight cars, despite the grave danger involved. The decision to suspend train services has been made to protect the physical safety of the migrants while authorities work to address the issue.
The company reported gatherings of around 1,500 people at a rail yard in Torreon, in the state of Coahuila, and approximately 800 migrants waiting at freight yards in Irapuato, in the state of Guanajuato. Another 1,000 individuals were reported to be riding freight cars on the train line connecting the cities of Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez. The suspension of train services by Ferromex, Mexico’s largest concessionary rail operator, is expected to have a significant impact, particularly on industrial states like Nuevo Leon, Baja California, and Chihuahua, which have strong ties to the U.S. market.
Migrants have long used the trains, collectively known as “The Beast,” to travel from southern Mexico to the U.S. border. However, the desperation to reach the U.S. has increased in recent times, leading to incidents such as the one on Monday, where a group of mostly Haitian migrants forcefully entered an asylum office in Tapachula, southern Mexico. The migrants overwhelmed National Guard officers and police stationed at the office, resulting in some trampling and chaos. The Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid operates the office, where migrants can file asylum claims in Mexico. However, many migrants intend to use the documents to facilitate their journey to the U.S. border.
Mexico is expected to receive a record number of asylum applications this year as the flow of migrants puts pressure on several Latin American countries along the migratory route. The director of Mexico’s refugee agency has projected that the number of asylum applications in 2022 could surpass 150,000, surpassing the previous record of 129,000 set in 2021.
– Migrants: People who move from one country or region to another, often in search of better living conditions or to escape persecution or conflict.
– Freight cars: Railway vehicles designed for carrying goods or cargo.
– Concessionary rail operator: A company that has been granted the right to operate railways under a concession agreement with the government.
– Asylum: Protection granted by a country to individuals fleeing persecution or serious harm in their home country.
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