A trail of tears
The deadly road to "el norte":
Some 200 irregular Central American migrants die each year on Mexican soil trying to reach the United States, and more than 100 are left crippled after falling from trains or running from law enforcement officers, says a recent study by the Population, Borders and Migration Issues Commission of the Mexican Congress.
According to the report, Mexican law "treats these people like criminals or worse than how Mexican immigrants in the United States are treated."
The study adds that the law permits National Migration Institute officials to act at their own discretion "to pursue and jail Central Americans who enter Mexican territory illegally."
Some 25,000 Central Americans enter Mexico illegally each year, the study says. Nongovernmental organizations in Central America say that the number of migrants from the region killed in Mexico annually could be more than 450 because of the "hundreds" of disappeared, whose whereabouts are never determined.
A report by the government of El Salvador states that between 1997 and 2005, some 50,000 Central Americans who left their native countries for the United States, never arrived. Mexican Dep. Edmundo Rivera said that "some of them stayed in Mexico; others died and were buried without being identified."