During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly promised to build a wall between Mexico and the United States as well as deport undocumented Mexican immigrants. Now that he's won the presidential election and is scheduled to take the office in January, you might be wondering if a wall will actually keep Mexicans out of the U.S.
Although there are legal ways to enter the U.S. from Mexico, many choose to take illegal routes. People who don't have the money to pay human smugglers the roughly $10,000 fee to get them across the border take a train known as La Bestia, also known as the Beast or the Death Train, NPR reported.
This is not a normal form of transportation — La Bestia is not a passenger train, Migration Policy Institute reported. It is a freight train that carries cargo like cement, cars, food and other goods.
The train route runs from south of the Guatemala border to north of the U.S . border and gives people on board the option of entering the U.S. three different ways. Those who wish to enter the country through New Mexico or western Texas would travel through the center of the country, while people hoping to enter through eastern Texas would follow a track along the Gulf of Mexico. Finally, migrants wanting to enter through California or Arizona would take the train’s Pacific route, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
While it may seem simple, migrants face a variety of risks and dangers during their trip.
There is no assigned seating on La Bestia. People climb on the roof of the train and do their best to hold on throughout the duration of the ride, which can last for 1,450 miles, NPR reported. Those who choose to ride the train risk falling to their deaths, being sucked under the train wheels, dehydration, sunburns and other injuries.
Migrants also face dangers posed by the other train inhabitants. During the journey to the U.S. border, migrants can be murdered, sexually assaulted, robbed or face other types of harassment if they do not pay for protection. According to the Migration Policy Institute, gangs gather on the train and will not hesitate to throw a person off if he or she cannot meet their fees.
However, there may not be a need to monitor La Bestia if Trump keeps his campaign promises. Trump previously said that the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico was the “worst deal ever,” and, if elected, he either would renegotiate or end it altogether. That could mean no more freight trains heading into the U.S. from Mexico.
"We will be facing months of volatility and uncertainty while the new government in Washington takes office and we see whether Mr. Trump is able to make good on his unfortunate campaign promises and rhetoric," Reuters reported former Mexican deputy foreign minister Andres Rozental said Wednesday.
Only time will tell what Trump will decide when he officially takes office on Jan. 20.