The operation is one of the first of its kind since Mexico signed a deal with the US
Mexico has not wasted any time following its agreement with the United States to stem the flow of illegal migrants into the country.
The Mexican military has begun targeting migrants traveling on the freight train known as “The Beast” to the U.S.-Mexico border, according to reports.
The “La Bestia” train was held up by the Mexican National Guard near Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, a city north of the Mexico-Guatemala border, an area where migrants have been crossing into the US.
The operation is one of the first of its kind since Mexico signed a deal with the United States late on Friday night, agreeing that the government will take action against illegal immigration into the US.
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“The National Guard was placed on one side, moment that was taken advantage of by more than 200 migrants who got off the train and fled,” Nataniel Hernández Núñe, director of the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Center said.
Many “hid in the bush, so only 25 were arrested,” he added.
The train was heading to Oaxaca, a state located northwest of Chiapas.
Mexico’s Institute for National Migration said migrants who illegally entered the country and not possessing temporary visas would be deported because they are in the country without legal permission.
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— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) June 9, 2019
According to The Washington Examiner: Migrants had used freight trains at a lower rate in recent years compared to how popular it was around 2014 and 2015 when unaccompanied children and families began climbing aboard the trains to avoid paying smugglers to get them to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mexican authorities in 2014 declared it illegal to ride on the trains when the practice became widespread. Until this weekend, the move has gone largely unenforced.
The trains leave out of Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas then go up to Mexico City, located in the center of the country.
From there, the trains go in a number of directions, giving migrants options as to which part of the U.S. border they would like to go. The journey typically takes two weeks.
Riding on top of the 12-foot-tall freight cars is dangerous.
Injuries and deaths have been well-documented over the past decade, including last month, when a Honduran man trying to jump on board while the train was moving fell off and had his foot run over by a wheel.
Last week, Neon Nettle reported hundreds of migrants were met with Mexican soldiers, armed police and migration officials as they crossed the border from Guatemala in a caravan into southern Mexico.
Dozens of migrants were detained by police, according to one witness from a migrant aid group.