A Mexican railway operator announced on Tuesday that it is temporarily suspending train services in the northern part of the country due to the high number of migrants boarding freight cars and getting injured in the process.
Ferromex, the railway company, has decided to halt 60 trains that would carry cargo equivalent to 1,800 tractor trailers. This move will have an impact on some international trade.
In recent days, there have been several unfortunate incidents resulting in injuries or deaths among migrants who have been jumping onto freight cars, as stated in the company’s statement.
Despite the serious danger involved, some migrants have been attempting to climb onto moving freight cars.
Ferromex explained that the decision to suspend train services is aimed at protecting the physical safety of migrants. They are waiting for authorities to take action to address the problem.
The company reported that approximately 1,500 people have gathered at a rail yard in the city of Torreon, in the northern border state of Coahuila. Additionally, around 800 migrants are waiting at the freight yards in Irapuato, in the north-central state of Guanajuato.
Approximately 1,000 people have been reported riding freight cars on the train line that connects the city of Chihuahua and the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez.
Migrants have been using these trains, collectively known as “The Beast,” for many years to hitch rides from as far south as Oaxaca state to the U.S. border. The Mexican government previously conducted raids on the trains to discourage this practice, but these efforts have been largely abandoned in recent years.
This announcement comes at a time when migrants are increasingly desperate to reach the U.S. border.
On Monday, a large group of migrants, mainly from Haiti, stormed into an asylum office in Tapachula, a city in southern Mexico. They pushed past National Guard officers and police, causing some individuals to be trampled.
Authorities eventually convinced many of the migrants to leave, and no injuries were reported.
Migrants, including many from Cuba and Honduras, have complained about waiting for weeks to get an appointment at the office in Tapachula. This office, run by the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid, allows migrants to file claims for asylum in Mexico. However, most migrants intend to use the documents to travel more safely and easily to the U.S. border.
Mexico is expected to receive a record number of asylum applications this year as the flow of migrants continues to strain the governments of several Latin American countries along the migratory route.
Andrés Ramírez Silva, the director of Mexico’s refugee agency, stated last week that the number of asylum applications could reach 150,000 this year, surpassing the record of 129,000 set in 2021.