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

MDRC's Rent Reform Assault: Section 8 tenants vs. affordable housing industry J24 12:24AM

Obama at LA Trade Tech J23 3:23PM

Los Angeles Joins World Wide Protest Against Israeli Aggression J22 6:33PM

Los Angeles Joins World Wide Protest Against Israeli Aggression J22 5:48PM

Los Angeles Joins World Wide Protest Against Israeli Aggression J22 5:28PM

Protest Israeli Shelling of Gaza J21 1:58AM

#SaveTheInternet Rally J20 11:24AM

PACIFICA is shify-ing more J18 8:55PM

Radical Women Study Group J16 4:43PM

KIDS REPLANT WILSHIRE FRUIT TREES UPROOTED BY VANDALS J16 2:34PM

Emails Needed by Thursday, July 17 to Save the South Central Farm (Again) J15 4:40PM

Is AFT Pres Weingarten On The Take? J12 7:45AM

LA Living in Vehicle Law Found UnConstitutional J11 12:22PM

KPFK News covers the Che Cafe struggle J10 9:33PM

Public Comment on South Central Farm Site J07 10:44PM

Successful Protest at new Burbank Hobby Lobby on 4th J06 5:17PM

Protesters Violently Arrested in Murietta J05 12:44AM

Gallery Opening Highlights Journalist’s Creativity, Insights, and Passions J03 11:52AM

Indymedia On Air - Che Cafe show J02 10:27AM

Save the Che: Letter from Zack de la Rocha J29 8:47PM

Political Thriller Citizen Koch Premieres in Los Angeles J28 2:35AM

Veteran and Families of Military hold Press Conference J18 7:36AM

Furious Homeowners Occupy Lobby of Fannie Mae in Pasadena J16 4:15AM

Change Links Revival J12 12:09PM

Election Day with Occupy Los Angeles: Know Your Rights Juror Education Rally J05 9:39PM

United We Stand Festival Ignites a Wave of Action for Indy Journalists and Active Citizens J05 7:36PM

San Pedro Born Activist Yuri Kochiyama Dies J02 12:04PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Nuclear Bomb LA 1983, Revelations tortured Witness Recovers from 14 year coma J25 7:52PM

The Shortwave Report 07/25/14 Listen Globally! J24 5:00PM

Come for the education, Stay for the fun at the OC Health & Wellness Fair J23 10:59PM

Philippine president signs law requiring tobacco companies to put graphic health warnings J23 3:55AM

Rockets found in Gaza school J22 10:57PM

Statement on the Gaza Genocide J22 8:32PM

Capitalism and War: Pope Francis J22 4:18AM

Geekouts Link's for June and July 2014 J22 1:14AM

ADI holds Week of Action Against Circus Suffering J21 11:41AM

phantom protests J21 7:35AM

Précis de la tyrannie ou les 64 bourgeoisies J21 3:32AM

The Abiding Economics of John Kenneth Galbraith J19 3:19PM

The Word J18 1:12PM

Burn Cut Poison: Toxic Trillion Dollar Cancer Industrial Complex Of Radiation, Surgery, Ch J18 10:17AM

Abrégé de déictique J18 2:04AM

The Shortwave Report 07/18/14 Listen Globally! J17 2:54PM

carta a mi hija J17 1:40PM

SANTA MONICA ACTRESS TANNA FREDERICK TO VIETNAM TO INSTALL WATER FILTERS J17 11:21AM

Nationwide Air Conditioning and Heating Company Hiring in Southern California J17 9:18AM

Ariz. law enforcement: Marijuana shouldn't be legalized J16 5:27PM

Philippines: 5 Makabayan bloc legislators got P481M pork barrel J16 1:31AM

Lauren Kuby - Harry Mitchell - Tempe City Council J15 1:48PM

The Average Vegan Weighs 23 Lbs Less Than The Average Nonvegetarian J15 9:08AM

TTIP Undermines the Constitutional State J15 7:03AM

5,000 Show up in los Angeles Rally J13 7:40PM

Andrew Myers wants dispensaries to have monopoly on growing marijuana??? J13 8:22AM

Protest against Jewish terrorism & genocide in Palestine J12 7:28AM

israel training Georgia police J12 7:22AM

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