( AP ) - For thousands of illegal immigrants from Central America, the long journey to the U.S. starts here, on the groaning back of a freight train they call The Beast.
But these days many don't get too far.
Central Americans without documents now face increased security within Mexico, including checks on the train for stowaways. It's also harder for them to head north once they cross into Mexico because of hurricane damage to the train tracks.
The result: The number of non-Mexican migrants stopped by the U.S. Border Patrol has dropped almost 60 percent from 2005, despite increased detention efforts. About 68,000 non-Mexican migrants - mostly Central Americans - were detained last year, compared to 165,000 in 2005. Non-Mexicans make up about 10 percent of all migrants caught by Border Patrol officers.
Mexico itself is also seeing fewer illegal immigrants - 120,000 were arrested last year, a 50 percent drop from 2005, when Hurricane Stan hit and destroyed the railroad, according to the National Immigration Institute. Since President Felipe Calderon took office two years ago, Mexico has added more soldiers and federal police on its border with Guatemala and more immigration and military checkpoints throughout the south.