Central American migrants have been catching freight trains in Mexico to the U.S. border for years, risking injury or worse for a free ride and a path clear of Mexican government checkpoints. But at a time when illegal immigration to the United States remains near its lowest point in four decades, the number of Central Americans coming north has soared, putting new attention on the rail system that brings thousands to the border each year.
April 29, 2013 Migrants in Juchitan in southern Mexico ride atop a northbound train toward the U.S.-Mexican border. The dangers of the journey are widely known and perhaps worse than ever. Neither the Mexican government nor the dominant railroad companies in Mexico have managed to stop the masses of people from climbing aboard the trains. The migrants have increasingly become targets of criminal gangs who kidnap them to obtain ransom money.Eduardo Verdugo/AP