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Continued: Mexico's new enforcement cuts off route for Central American family and child migrants

  • Article by: MARK STEVENSON , Associated Press
  • Last update: August 29, 2014 - 7:24 PM

But for now, the effort shows no sign of abating.

Criminal gangs who used to prey on migrants on the train, threatening to throw them off unless they cooperated, are hiding in the woods near the highway checkpoints where immigration officials search passing buses, said Aliver Leon Lopez, 29, of Ahuachapan, El Salvador. He was shot in the neck by a band of thieves because he tried to hide his money from them.

"Before each checkpoint you have to get off and walk through the woods," said Leon Lopez, who still wears a bloody bandage on his neck. "They (criminals) have located the points where migrants get off to walk."

Faced with the nearly overwhelming obstacles in reaching the United States, Leon Lopez and others say they are giving up, at least for now. He plans to apply for a humanitarian visa available in Mexico to those who have been crime victims. Other migrants talked about finding work in Mexico, rather than the United States.

"Before you could get through more easily," said Abner Ramirez, 30, a coffee picker from Coatepeque, Guatemala, who was sleeping on the side of the railway tracks in Chahuites after fleeing another raid on the train over the weekend.

"If I can get a steady job, a steaady paycheck, I'd stay ... to send money back home," he said.

Juan Antonio Salmeron, a 48-year old construction worker from La Union, El Salvador, said he wants to work in the northern Mexico state of Sinaloa, picking fruit or vegetables. "You can earn good money there," Salmeron said.

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