MEXICO CITY – The Federal Police detained 183 migrants from Central America, South America, Asia and Africa in the central state of Puebla, the Mexican Public Safety Secretariat said.
The vast majority of the migrants – 118 – were from Guatemala, while 26 came from El Salvador, 12 were from Honduras, nine were from Nepal, seven came from Ecuador, five were from Sri Lanka, three came from India, one was from Egypt, one was from Tibet and was of an unspecified nationality, the secretariat said.
Officers spotted the large group of migrants in a field in the community of San Antonio Portezuelos, the secretariat said.
The migrants “explained that their goal was to reach the United States,” the secretariat said.
The migrants were turned over to the National Migration Institute, or INM, for processing.
Central American migrants follow a long route that takes them into Chiapas, a state in southern Mexico on the border with Guatemala, walking part of the way or riding aboard freight trains, buses and cargo trucks.
The trek is a dangerous one, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants.
The flow of migrants has increased markedly in the northern and northeastern parts of Mexico since U.S. officials increased security along the border in the northwestern part of the country.
Last month, the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombudsman’s office, identified 71 cities in 16 of the country’s 32 states that are considered dangerous for Mexican and foreign migrants headed to the United States.
“Kidnappings, abuse, extortion, robberies and sexual attacks on migrants have been documented” in the 71 cities, the CNDH said in a statement.
An estimated 300,000 Central Americans and 400,000 Mexicans undertake the dangerours journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States.
About 20,000 Central Americans were kidnapped by organized crime groups, which extorted money from them or forced them to join their gangs, the CNDH said in a report released last year. EFE