Immigration officials have begun efforts in southern Mexico to prevent Central Americans from boarding north-bound trains. Officials are also raiding certain towns in the south and rounding up aliens, especially those with gang tattoos.
Thus far, officials claim to have pulled 6,000 aliens from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador off a train called "The Beast" and returned them to their countries. They say the effort will help ensure the aliens' safety, but that Central Americans interviewed by the Associated Press dispute the claim.
"That's a lie. It doesn't make us safer," said one alien who was seeking to return to meatpacking plants in the U.S. where he had worked previously. "Look how we are in the woods, drinking water that can be infected…They won't stop us. If they detain 100, another 300, 400 will come."
Mexico said it is using satellite imagery to monitor rail lines to help prevent illegal aliens from reaching the United States. The technology also is intended to "prevent migrants from putting at risk the safety of the trains which are for cargo, not passengers," according to Humberto Mayans from the Mexican Interior Ministry.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto had promised in July to implement plans to secure Mexico's border with Guatemala. With implementation underway, Nieto visited California Monday on a two-day visit designed to push amnesty for Mexican nationals living illegally in the U.S.
"We want to be a factor of cohesion, not division, with full respect for the sovereignty of the United States," Nieto said. "This, at the end, is about — and only about — a matter of justice for those who contribute so much to the development of the American society."
Nieto also took a swipe at states that prefer immigration enforcement over amnesty. "There are still states that have not evolved so much as California, that still skimp on recognition and, even worse, the rights of immigrants," he said. "Those who still believe and bet for the exclusion and discrimination or the rejection of diversity ... I only have one thing to say: the future, and a very near future, will demonstrate your ethical mistake. Time will show we're right."
Read more from the Associated Press.
Updated: Mon, Jul 24th 2017 @ 4:19pm EDT