VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico —
Mario Bustillos Borge, the Red Cross chief in Tabasco, described the rescue as a complex situation that was making it difficult to get rapid confirmation of the exact number of dead and injured.
“There are some very high estimates, and others that are more conservative,” he told a local radio station, without providing details.
While the number of Mexicans heading to the U.S. has dropped dramatically, there has been a surge of Central Americans making the 1,000-mile northbound journey, fueled in large part by the rising violence brought to their homelands by the spread of Mexican drug cartels.
Other factors, experts say, are an easing in migration enforcement by Mexican authorities and a false perception that Mexican criminal gangs are not preying on migrants as much as they had been.
Central American migration remains small compared to the numbers of Mexicans still headed north, but steeply rising numbers speak starkly to the violence and poverty at home. The number of Hondurans deported by the U.S. government increased between to 32,000 last year from 24,000 in 2011. Authorities say it’s hard to estimate the numbers crossing north.
U.S. border agents caught 99,013 non-Mexican migrants, mostly from Central America, in the fiscal year that ended Oct. 31, nearly double the same period a year earlier and the highest since 2006. The number of migrants actually making the trip is believed to be far higher.