imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - json version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles
link:

Risking injury, brutality for a ride toward the U.S.

by Chris Hawley Thursday, Nov. 09, 2006 at 8:50 AM

In the underground world of illegal immigration, Tultitlán a gritty suburb of Mexico City is Grand Central Station, a junction where Central American stowaways change from one freight train to another on a harrowing, often deadly, ride to the U.S. border.

TULTITLÁN, Mexico -- The rails slice through Tultitlán like freeways, smooth and deceptively straight. Just follow this line, they seem to say, and you'll get to the United States.

The vibrating rails make a singing sound when a train approaches. Within seconds, migrants emerge from culverts or bushes, their worn shoes pounding the gravel, their fingers clutching for a handhold on the hot steel cars.

In the underground world of illegal immigration, this gritty suburb of Mexico City is Grand Central Station, a junction where Central American stowaways change from one freight train to another on a harrowing, often deadly, ride to the U.S. border.

"Some of them come here shaking, grown adults crying after what they've been through," said Felipe Valdez, the priest of the nearby St. Francis of Assisi church.

Mexican railroads are the main means of travel for Central American migrants, who are heading to the United States in rising numbers. The total number of Hondurans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans caught by the U.S. Border Patrol soared from 20,210 to 114,665 between the 2000 and 2005 fiscal years. Mexico itself deported 221,948 people from those three countries in 2005.

Migrants prefer the freight trains over Mexico's long-range buses because the buses have to pass through highway checkpoints where Mexican troops and police search for illegal immigrants. The trains are checked only sporadically, usually by immigration officials at rail yards.

But the journey is longer and filled with ruthless gangs, brutal weather and physical hazards. Many migrants are crushed by overpasses, shaken loose from the speeding cars, or maimed on the rails after falling asleep and losing their grip.

In the Tultitlán neighborhood of Lechería, the main rail line from southern Mexico begins to splinter into the routes that eventually lead to Nogales, Ariz.; Calexico, Calif.; and the Texas cities of El Paso, Eagle Pass and Laredo. Trains screech and rattle through this junction several times an hour.

A small rail yard at the split hosts four or five trains at a time. The rails are littered with trash left by the migrants.

Squatter villages of tar-paper shacks have sprung up between the rails and the surrounding factories. Here, migrants can rent a cot for $3 a night or buy food. But muggers, gang members and drug dealers also prowl the shantytowns, looking to take whatever money the travelers have left.

The less time spent here, the better. Migrants jump off one train, walk 300 yards along a curving track, and board another train headed north. After reaching the border, most cross on foot.

Tultitlán is the halfway point on the way to the United States. By the time they get here, most migrants have been robbed or roughed up by the Mara Salvatrucha gangs that control the southern rail routes. Many have gotten ill from drinking water from drainage ditches, lost fingers or legs after falling onto the tracks, or gotten stranded in the Mexican countryside after catching the wrong train.

In October, a migrant was found strangled along the tracks in Tultitlán, apparently by gang members.

"The trip has been a lot worse than I thought," said Jeffrey Rodríguez, a 19-year-old from Choloma, Honduras, as he rested in the shade of a train car loaded with Ford Mustangs. "I've been traveling for 21 days, and they say the last half is the worst."

Many migrants have never been in a big city, let alone Mexico City, a capital of 20 million people that is the world's biggest metropolis after Tokyo. Many arrive penniless and disoriented.

Mexican immigration officials conduct occasional raids in Tultitlán, but enforcement has lapsed since agents accidentally shot a Mexican passer-by during a botched raid on April 17. Furious residents attacked and overturned two immigration service vehicles.

Most Tultitlán residents tolerate the migrants because many are just passing through and have no intention of staying in Mexico.

"I have brothers up in Texas, so I understand. They're just trying to improve their lives," said Fidel García, who runs a sandwich shop between two rail lines. "But some of them have no idea what they're getting into. You see people who have lost legs and arms because of the train. How are they going to work?"

Stories of terrible brutality are common in Tultitlán. One group of seven men and four women told Valdez, the priest, that they had been kidnapped by gang members and held for days in the mountains on Mexico's southern border. All of them, men and women, had been raped.

Angel Montano, a migrant from Lamatillo, Honduras, said he once saw a train's wheels sever a hand and a leg of a traveling companion who fell onto the rails in Sinaloa state.

Montano was making his eighth journey to the United States by rail. He had been caught and sent back to Honduras seven times, once just a few miles after crossing the border near Nogales.

On this trip, Montano had been stuck in Tultitlán for a month, trying to shake a bad stomach illness before moving on. He had been living under a willow tree, afraid to seek medical help for fear he would be arrested.

"I'm feeling better now," he said. "It's a hard journey, but what can you do? I have a family to support."

Across the rail yard, a whistle blew mournfully and another train began rumbling north.

Reach the reporter at chris.hawley@arizonarepublic.com
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

Mormon Perspective on #BundyRanch, U.S. Federal Government, and Divinity of Constitution A22 2:10PM

Livestreamer @PMBeers interviews Bundy Ranch supporters during BLM stand-off A22 8:13AM

Will Hundreds of Years of Contract Law be Eradicated in Santa Ana Court? A22 12:32AM

John Johnson A21 10:25AM

Los Angeles Joins Nationwide March Against Mainstream Media #MAMSM A20 3:04PM

Has KPFK's GM Duncan just dis-appeared? A20 12:35PM

Michael Ruppert dead. A18 6:17PM

Pacifica voting in secret with no accountability? Is this part of KPFK ? A18 3:39PM

Kassim Alhimidi convicted of murder A17 8:33PM

Members of Bundy Family Explain Bundy Ranch Stand-Off With Bureau of Land Management (BLM) A17 1:03AM

Here's some interesting privatization connections in regards to the LAUSD District 1 race A15 4:25PM

Rock, Rap & Speakout vs Poverty, Prisons & War A13 3:16PM

Report Back: 4th Annual Hahamongna Walkabout A13 2:33PM

Pacifica Exe Director position is in confusion still putting KPFK at risk A10 3:52PM

Bernard Duncan, prior GM of KPFK is still in play A08 5:01PM

San Diego May Dai Workers Film Festival A06 5:11PM

Southern California Joins Worldwide Wave Of Action A05 2:31AM

Pacifica board members named here, who attempted ousting ED A04 1:06PM

LA Weekly promotes a slanted view of Pacifica/ KPFK A04 10:36AM

More Info about Pacifica, which holds KPFK's license, etc. A03 2:08PM

Listen to KPFK's staff talking to Pacifica Exe Director M29 7:31PM

Pacifica IS also KPFK, so let's not ignore what going on M29 5:42PM

Reported excerpts of Pacifica's - and that's KPFK's - incidents happening - update M29 5:14PM

Repost from Counterpunch re Pacifica - KPFK too involved M29 2:10PM

Forever intertwined: KPFK, WBAI, Gary Null ? M28 4:10PM

Why is KPFK still failing to thrive ? M28 3:32PM

GLOBAL DAY of ACTION for the Indonesian Rainforests! M27 3:06PM

Opponents of SB County Jail's Letter Ban to Share Progress, Next Steps M27 9:58AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

American Oligarchs: Thieving Koch Brothers A23 3:05PM

PLO/Hamas Detente? A23 12:49PM

Well, the #MyNYPD hashtag sure backfired quickly A23 9:07AM

US Threatens Russia A23 12:48AM

Outrageous Pro-Kiev Op-Ed A23 12:46AM

Propaganda alert: US and UN object to the holding of presidential elections in Syria A22 10:45AM

Cold War 2.0 A22 12:51AM

Marwan Barghouti on Sham Peace Talks A22 12:50AM

F*ck One Democratic state A21 10:55PM

Uranium Madhouse unleashes The Duchess of Malfi in Hollywood A21 8:48PM

Major BDS Donor Owned Shares of Caterpillar While Campaigning for Divestment A21 8:23PM

There Is A Petition For Single Payer Health Insurance A21 2:10PM

Proposal: Piketty and Saez Meme Project A21 1:24PM

The Great Shakespeare On Animal And Plant Rights A21 12:40PM

Kropotkin Prison A21 4:58AM

The Earth a Common Treasury for All A21 3:38AM

Kiev Breaks Easter Truce A21 12:44AM

Unacceptable State-Sponsored Murder A21 12:43AM

"Believing without Seeing" A20 4:13PM

Trolling ...what is that ? A20 1:01PM

Canada Targets Russia A20 11:45AM

Russia Bashing Continues A20 12:45AM

Koch Brothers-Style Free Society A20 12:43AM

Arythmie du capital A19 5:33AM

Dissent within after article, Profound Arrogance at UN. A19 4:20AM

Dissent within after article, Profound Arrogance at UN. A19 3:25AM

Kiev Violates Four-Party Agreement A19 12:50AM

Fake Donetsk Letter Circulating A19 12:49AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy