"At the gated entrance topped with concertina wire, a group of Denver-bound Salvadoran men arrived on a recent afternoon asking for water, saying they had been robbed at gunpoint along the tracks a few minutes earlier. Several other travelers were nursing bruises and broken ribs from beatings they blamed on gang members or local police. A young Honduran woman said she was grateful she’d survived an assault with little more than a groping.

“Why hasn’t Mexico taken care of the trains issue? It’s the most well-known and well-documented aspect of this whole tragedy,” said Eric Olson, an expert on security and migration at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

The freight trains, known collectively to migrants as “The Beast,” are “a concentrated, specific route that people are taking, and it would seem obvious that creating security on the train and keeping migrants off of it would be within the capacity of Mexican security forces. So one has to wonder why it hasn’t happened more quickly and readily,” Olson said.

Though illegal migration into the United States from Mexico remains near its lowest levels in 40 years, the share of Guatemalan, Salvadoran and Hondurans arrested along the U.S. southern border is higher than ever."


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