imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
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:

Original Cities

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

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

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:

Local News

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

Last of California's nuclear power plants is on its way out J30 3:44PM

Patrisse Khan-Cullors explains why Black Lives Matter J26 7:02PM

Women's March L.A., 2018 J24 4:39PM

The case for US government sanctions on Israel J23 5:36PM

 Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump Photoset 4 J22 9:07PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump Photoset 3 J22 8:24PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump PhotoSet 2 J22 7:36PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump PhotoSet 1 J22 7:14PM

Women's Political Representation & Electoral Reform J21 12:43PM

Trial Starts for Woman with Erb’s Palsy Punched in Face Repeatedly by LAPD Officers J10 1:38PM

Dear District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Prosecute Killer Cops, Signed: Your Constituents J09 10:09PM

Great solidarity action today J06 10:22PM

Chris Ballew beat up by Pasadena police J05 5:01PM

Retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey explains how the LAPD's Board of Rights hearings work J05 3:40PM

An Ex-Cop Talks About Police Shootings J05 3:39PM

Do Nukes Kill? J02 4:40PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Le serment d'impunité F25 2:14AM

Subversion de la théorie F24 1:02AM

Feds Using Mobile X-Ray Vans On U.S. Streets (Fox News) F23 8:38PM

Tantra & The San Francisco Two-Spirit PowWow F23 5:59PM

Adam Smith as Philanthropist F23 6:43AM

The Shortwave Report 02/23/18 Listen Globally! F22 5:03PM

Hero Hunters Cheat - Guide - Tips to Win F22 12:57PM

Paraphysique de l'anaphore F21 11:14PM

“Lost in a Dream” Karaoke Competition Promises $20,000 Prize! F21 10:43AM

NYPD Case Calls Attention to 'Consent Defense' That Can Be Used by Officers Accused of Rap F20 11:59PM

Hero Hunters Hack - Get Unlimited Bucks and Gold F20 3:27PM

Our Beneficial River Jordan F20 11:43AM

State Investments and the Public Sector F20 6:13AM

Apprentissage irrémissible F19 11:12PM

Sauve-qui-peut du gâchis F18 12:09AM

Talon de fer F17 1:50AM

The Shortwave Report 02/16/18 Listen Globally! F15 4:24PM

The judiciary could force America to solve the homeless crisis F15 9:56AM

The torrefied pellet plant will not be built on the Limousin mountain! F15 6:19AM

Endf Russophobia! Time for a New Detente Policy F15 4:27AM

Paraphysique du catastrophisme F14 11:22PM

Baltimore police union balks at policy requiring officers to pay some legal damages themse F14 6:19PM

Researching Islamic Terrorism in Europe. F14 5:08PM

Asian American Stereotypes in Media F14 2:33PM

La diversité clonée F14 1:59AM

Forever Fierce Day F13 3:18AM

A l'époque du spectaculaire concentré et diffus ( Hommage à feu Michel Noury ) F12 10:34PM

Zombie Capitalism F12 4:07AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 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