Stuff I think you should know

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mexico deports migrants; Why can't the US?

Mexican authorities are deporting many of the thousands of Central American migrants who were stranded when a railroad closed.

The government sent hundreds of police and soldiers Tuesday to clear out the U.S.-bound migrants, who for decades have hopped freight cars on the Chiapas-Mayab railway.

In July, U.S.-based Genesee & Wyoming decided to stop operating the Chiapas-Mayab line. Company spokeswoman Jeanette Rosado said damage to railway tracks caused by a 2005 hurricane forced the pullout.

She also said train-hopping migrants delayed operations.

''It is not the same, pulling a normal train or pulling it with 300 people riding on top,'' Rosado said.

Unfortunately, Central American migrants keep streaming into towns where they once climbed onto the trains. Thousands have been camping along rail lines, waiting for trains that will never come. Extra buses had been contracted to transport deportees from immigration detention centers to the border.

Thousands more migrants were stuck at the town of Ariaga in Chiapas state, and Salvadoran Consul Nelson Cuellar said many had started walking toward a rail line almost 300 miles away.

''That is a marathon walk'' through country where the threat of robbery is constant, he said.

Franciscan brother Juan Pablo Chavez Vargas, who runs a migrant shelter, said smugglers have encouraged them to keep coming. ''They are telling them, 'The train will come, just wait,''' he said.


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