‘Human smugglers look for migrants to load on lorries entering Europe or the US’
Mexican authorities found the bodies of 50 Central American migrants bound for Europe or the US hidden in two truck trailers loaded with rice at the border with Guatemala on Friday, officials said.
“Every illegal crossing across our border is a violation of Mexican sovereignty and human rights. We will not tolerate it,” a spokesman for the Veracruz state governor, Miguel Ángel Mancera, said in a statement.
He said authorities found the bodies in vans taking one of the trucks from a warehouse at Ciudad Victoria to Guatemala City, the capital. The vans had been treated to include those from other trucks.
According to a statement from Mancera’s office, some 500 immigrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador were found crammed inside one of the lorries carrying rice to collect on an international border crossing.
In another part of the same warehouse, 60 undocumented migrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Peru were hidden in two trucks containing 10 lorries each, including one belonging to Mexico’s national immigration institute.
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Authorities said the migrants had no identification papers and that the vehicles were registered in Texas. Mancera said human smugglers had begun waiting near the the border following a recent visit by Donald Trump to Mexico, adding that the migrants were travelling north on the cheap route because the crossings were more difficult and more risky.
Mexico’s two main international crossings, with the US and Canada, are on the Pacific coast in San Ysidro and at Calexico, California. Those places receive most traffic coming across the border from other countries including the US and Canada.
“Whenever you see undocumented people arriving at the border, it is because they are smuggled. These are not people who have gone and travelled all the way to Tijuana or Mexicali [where the Mexicans call it a ‘quijote’] and come to Nogales [for the border],” Mancera’s statement said.
Migrants pay more in Mexico to cross illegally into the US than to go through official border crossings, where the cost depends on the type of document they are carrying.
Some migrants pay people-smugglers for their passage even when they are illegal residents in Mexico. The phenomenon is known as “quijote”, literally meaning a well-hidden person.