Mexico pledges checkpoints to ‘dissuade' migrants from hopping freight trains to US border

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Mexican officials pledged Friday to set up checkpoints to “dissuade” migrants from hopping freight trains to the U.S. border.

The announcement came Friday at a meeting that Mexican security and immigration officials had with a representative of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.

So many migrants are climbing aboard trains that Mexico’s largest railway company said earlier this week it was suspending 60 freight train runs because of safety concerns, citing a series of injuries and deaths.

Mexico’s National Immigration Institute did not say where the checkpoints would be established or how migrants would be dissuaded or detained. In 2014, Mexican authorities briefly took to stopping trains to pull migrants off, but it was unclear if the government was planning to resume the raids.

The institute said its officers have been detaining about 9,000 migrants per day this month, a significant increase over the daily of average of about 6,125 in the first eight months of the year. It said Mexico had detained 1.47 million migrants so far this year and deported 788,089 of them.

Mexican officials said they would speak with the governments of Venezuela, Brazil, Nicaragua, Colombia and Cuba to ensure they would accept deportation flights.

The immigration agency said the Mexican railroad Ferromex would be part of the security plan. Ferromex said in statement Tuesday that it had temporarily ordered a halt to 60 trains carrying cargo because of about a “half-dozen regrettable cases of injuries or deaths” among migrants hopping freight cars.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of migrants in recent days,” Ferromex said, adding that it was stopping the trains “to protect the physical safety of the migrants."

Customs and Border Protection announced this week that so many migrants had showed up in the Texas border city of Eagle Pass that it was closing an international railway crossing there that links Piedras Negras, Mexico.

Union Pacific Railroad Co. said the track would reopen at midnight Saturday, adding that roughly 2,400 rail cars remained unable to move on both sides of the border.

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