Considered felons by the government, these migrants fear detention, rape and robbery. Police and soldiers hunt them down at railroads, bus stations and fleabag hotels. Sometimes they are deported; more often officers simply take their money.
Maria Elena Gonzalez, who lives near the tracks, said female migrants often complain about abusive police. "They force them to strip, supposedly to search them, but the purpose is to sexually abuse them," she said. Others said they had seen migrants beaten to death by police, their bodies left near the railway tracks to make it look as if they had fallen from a train.