The arduous journey of 57 undocumented migrants on their way to the U.S. was cut short in Mexico by an apparent kidnapping by elements of organized crime. Mexican authorities reported they rescued the group of Central American and Mexican migrants in the eastern state of Tamaulipas, the Latin American television network TeleSur said Wednesday.
Government officials said the group attempting to illegally immigrate to the U.S. consisted of 47 men and 10 women, Prensa Latina reported (via TeleSur). About one-half of the migrants are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and the rest are from Mexico. It is unclear what is in store for the newly freed migrants, TeleSur said.
Kidnapping has become an increasingly common problem for migrants in Mexico. The country's national immigration institute has estimated the kidnapping rate of migrants increased 800 percent between 2012 and 2014, TeleSur said.
"There's an astonishing kidnapping market in Mexico for migrants who are making their way from Central America, sometimes further south, and who are trying to get to the U.S. and in the process are kidnapped often by drug cartels like the Zetas," Sarah Stillman, who wrote a story about the kidnapping of migrants for the New Yorker, said in an NPR interview last month. "And then their families are called. And they're told, you know, 'If you don't deliver $5,000, we will kill your family member, or you will never hear from them again.'"
In 2013, Mexican authorities carried out a similar rescue when they recovered a large group of 165 migrants who were taken captive while attempting to cross the border into the U.S. That group was mostly Central American, and its members were also rescued in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The region has seen a recent uptick in shootings and other violence, according to a UPI report.
Meanwhile, the next big move in terms of immigration reform in the U.S. is an anticipated decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court is set to soon rule on the blocked executive actions by President Barack Obama that would include deportation relief for about 5 million undocumented immigrants who are the parents of U.S.-citizen children.