Guatemalan police rescued 126 migrants who were left in a container on the side of a highway.
They were found during the night between the cities of Nueva Concepcion and Cocalis, after residents reported hearing screams coming from inside the trailer.
Authorities believe these people were abandoned by smugglers who were paid to bring them to the United States via Mexico.
More than 100 of the people found are from Haiti, which has been hit hard by the crisis. There were also people from Nepal and Ghana.
A police spokesman said in an interview shortly after the discovery: “We heard screaming and beatings coming from inside the container. We opened the doors and found 126 people without documents.”
The police provided first aid to the migrants before escorting them to a shelter run by the Guatemalan Immigration Institute.
Alejandra Mina, a spokeswoman for Guatemala’s immigration authority, said the migrants reached Central America via Honduras and from there began the treacherous journey north to the United States.
They will now be taken to the Honduran border and handed over to the authorities.
The discovery came just a day after Mexican authorities detained 652 migrants. Among them are about 350 children, traveling in three refrigerated trucks with double trailers near the southern border of the United States.
Soldiers at a military checkpoint in Tamaulipas searched the trucks after hearing voices inside.
The incident reflects growing concern about the number of migrants. Among them, a large number of Haitians, are at great risk in their attempts to reach the United States.
Since early 2021, more than 50 migrants have died trying to cross a jungle pass called Darren Gap in Panama on the Colombian border, according to the Panamanian prosecutor.
Haiti has suffered from instability for years, culminating in the assassination of President Juvenal Moise in July. The following month, the country was hit by a deadly earthquake.
Thousands of Haitians have left the country in search of work in Latin American countries.
Many began trying to reach the United States because they believed they were eligible for Temporary Protected Status, a temporary right to remain in the country that has been extended to Haitians already living in the United States. But not for newcomers.
Last month, about 13,000 Haitians gathered under a bridge linking Del Rio, Texas, and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico. Since then, the United States has deported more than 7,500 people to Haiti, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
US special envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote has submitted his resignation in protest of the deportations. He said the refusal of those fleeing the earthquake and political instability was “inhuman”.
But Marsha Espinosa of the US Department of Homeland Security emphasized that “our borders are not open and people should not make the dangerous journey.”
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