MEXICO CITY – Immigration agents and police detained 125 illegal immigrants, the majority of them Central Americans, in a sweep in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, the National Migration Institute, or INM, said.
The operation was carried out in the city of Chahuites, where the migrants were found aboard 27 train cars.
Agents detained 100 Guatemalans, 11 Salvadorans, one Nepalese and 13 Hondurans.
The group was made up of 102 men, 15 women, six boys and two girls, all headed for the United States, the INM said.
Officials from the OPI child-welfare agency participated in the operation and arranged for the eight children to be housed in appropriate quarters.
The migrants were taken to the immigration facilities in Ventosa and Tapanatepec “for their quick repatriation to their country of origin in a dignified, orderly and safe manner,” the INM said.
Immigration agents will continue to conduct sweeps to protect the lives and human rights of illegal immigrants, the agency said.
Some 300,000 Central Americans, according to official estimates, cross Mexico each year while on their way to the United States.
About 70,000 illegal immigrants were detained at Mexican immigration stations last year and returned home, the non-governmental group Sin Fronteras said in a report earlier this year.
Illegal immigrants often fall prey to gangs of robbers, police, immigration officers and, in recent years, to Mexico’s drug cartels.
In August, 72 Latin American migrants were massacred at a ranch in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas.
The massacre victims came from Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Brazil, but the majority were Hondurans.
Two migrants – one from Ecuador and another from Honduras – survived the massacre.
Los Zetas, considered Mexico’s most violent drug cartel, is suspected of murdering the migrants.
More than 1,000 Hondurans and Salvadorans have gone missing in Mexico, with “their whereabouts unknown,” non-governmental organizations say.
Earlier this month, a caravan organized by the Honduran Network of Migrants Committees and Relatives of the Missing traveled around Mexico to raise awareness about the more than 500 Hondurans who went missing here while trying to reach the United States.
This was the sixth annual caravan organized by the Honduran activists, who estimate that nothing has been heard from more than 6,000 migrants in the past five years. EFE