Officials in Mexico announced Friday they had discovered nearly 500 U.S.-bound migrants hidden away at a compound near Mexico City, more than half of which being children.
Officials with Mexico’s National Institute of Migration revealed that 491 migrants were being held in a walled compound near the city of Puebla, next to a route commonly used by migrant smugglers, CBS News reported. Among the migrants found, 277 were children and adolescents, 52 of which were unaccompanied, the outlet stated. (RELATED: Biden Admin Housed Record Number Of Unaccompanied Illegal Migrant Children: REPORT)
Mexico’s immigration agency said late Friday it found 491 migrants being held at a compound by the side of a highway east of Mexico City. https://t.co/Ho5i4zyt1B
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 5, 2023
Smugglers often hide migrants in places like the one found near Puebla until they can be loaded onto buses or trucks and transported to the U.S. border, the outlet stated.
The National Institute of Migration revealed the migrants in this case were transferred to its headquarters where they were supplied with food, water and medical attention, CBS News reported.
Mexico has made recent efforts to crackdown on illegal immigration, closing down migration offices on its shared border with Guatemala that previously granted temporary permits allowing people to travel north. Neighboring countries to the south of Mexico have also instituted similar procedures in an effort to “disincentivize” illegal immigration.
Despite those efforts, a record 250,000 migrants crossed the Darien Gap from January to July in 2023, exceeding the number of migrants who made the dangerous crossing in all of 2022. The number of migrants crossing the 66-mile “swath of dense jungle” which straddles Colombia and Panama is projected to nearly double by the end of 2023, potentially reaching 400,000, according to UNICEF. Despite being one of the most dangerous crossings in the world, many of the migrants are unaccompanied children, according to UNICEF.
All but six of the 491 immigrants discovered in Mexico hailed from Guatemala — the others were from Honduras, CBS News reported.