Mexican authorities in Veracruz found 626 migrants crammed inside two trailers Friday.
The migrants — mostly from Africa, Asia and Central America — ranged in age from 18 to 60, officials said. Most were women and children.
The 19-mile journey north from the northern city of Monterrey took the migrants more than 10 hours, an eternity in the dangerous border region between Mexico and the United States. The UN describes the nearly 2,000 migrants who walk in such routes daily as walking the world’s “deadliest borders.”
Mexican authorities in Veracruz found several bodies aboard the trucks Friday, said Manuel Merino, secretary of the state’s human rights commission. The cargo reportedly was empty.
Merino said the migrants were trying to reach the United States. They spoke limited Spanish, he said.
The U.S. State Department urges people against embarking on such perilous trips, noting that conditions in Mexico are dangerous and law enforcement is extremely busy.
Border crossings are slow and extortion cases common along crossings. Convoys of trucks, buses and other forms of transportation are common, and often packed with migrants. Such safety and security issues were not addressed during a national anti-crime summit in Mexico that President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador launched Dec. 12.
The regional office of Mexico’s Federal Police, which oversees Mexico’s southern border, said migrants are not normally taken to border stations for processing, but are usually directed there by authorities at other points along the way.
Only a fraction of the estimated 8 million undocumented migrants living in Mexico illegally enter the United States legally, and the vast majority get into the country illegally.
Including what authorities found Friday, some 1,900 people have been rescued from inside trucks or other vehicles along Mexico’s southern border in Mexico since May 2014, the Interior Department said.
The 2011 report said by transporting migrants in a “capable, safe and orderly manner,” Pro Garcia says it helps facilitate the identification and coordination of migrants in the long and dangerous trip north.
The promotion, however, may have left a bad taste in the mouths of some migrants and federal police. In 2018, 60 migrants were rescued in two separate incidents from inside the back of trucks in Veracruz.