On Friday, September 29th, migrants who had been riding on top of a freight train found themselves stranded in Mexico when the train suddenly came to a halt several miles away from the US border.
The train was halted after dozens of northbound trains were suspended by the government over fears around migrant safety.
As reported by Reuters, hundreds of migrants were aboard a train which stood in a desert-like area near Villa Ahumada, around 123 km (76.43 miles) from the border town of Ciudad Juarez located in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
“They’re treating us like animals,” stated Sasha Pacheco, who was onboard the stationary train, and was accompanied by her family including an infant.
“We’re in a desert, there’s only one tree… we’re just an hour (from our destination), but it would take a day walking with a baby. Why would they take us if they’re going to do this to us?” she quizzed, further stating that there were no options to get taxis or buses from their current spot.
Last week, 60 northbound cargo trains, run by Ferromex of Mexico, were halted after around half a dozen migrants faced injury or death. Later, the company said that the trains were restarted in some routes, where there was no known “heightened risk”.
Some banners were hung on the side of the train halted in Villa Ahumada read, “Thank you Ferromex”. These banners were put up by migrants who were initially grateful to the company for restarting the trains.
The spokesperson of Grupo Mexico, which is the owner of Ferromex, said that there were no additional updates to share about the trains still halted.
“Concentrations of migrants continue to be monitored, and trains are moved, ensuring continuity of traffic, but avoiding high risks for people and for operations,” they stated.
Venezuelan migrant Marlon Vera, who was travelling for two months, said to Reuters that the train he was onboard had halted for several days before getting stopped once again near Villa Ahumada.
“We’re here… without food, water, facing the cold, the heat,” he stated. In the past week, the stopping of trains has led to around $1 billion worth of goods getting stuck at the border.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan migrant Jose Julian, who was present in the border city of Piedras Negras which is opposite Eagle Pass, Texas, on Friday said that he was stranded in a similar way while travelling aboard the cargo trains.
He stated that he had climbed a freight train several days ago along with some 2,000 other migrants in Monterrey, however, the train stopped somewhere past Torreon.
“They left us in the middle of the desert,” he said while speaking on the banks of the Rio Grande River. “They didn’t care that there were children,” he added.