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Tackling 'The Beast' to Stop Illegal Crossings

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Federal agents in Mexico patrol the tracks that carry, "The Beast," a freight train line notorious for carrying people from Central America looking to cross into the United States illegally. (Aug. 29)

DURATION: 1:55

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AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY

San Ramon, Chiapas - 29 August 2014

1. Mexican immigration officers taking two Central American migrants who were travelling on top of cargo train known as "La Bestia", or The Beast

2. Immigration officers putting arrested migrant into van

3. Detained migrants inside van

4. Federal police officer patrolling during raid on "The Beast"

5. Immigration officer on top of one of train's wagons

6. Immigration officer searching for migrants in between train's wagon

Arriaga, Chiapas - 26 August 2014

7. Overhead shot of "The Beast' passing by with few migrants seated on top as it crosses Arriaga toward nearby state of Oaxaca

8. Migrants walking along tracks of "The Beast", carrying bottles filled with water from nearby creek

9. Migrants seated in cardboard boxes while hiding in woods; awaiting to board train

10. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Manuel Villalta, 31-year-old Salvadorian:

11. Migrants standing next to tracks in woods

12. Group of Mexican citizens sitting next to parked train cars

13. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Luis Fernando Martinez, Arriaga resident:

14. Side shot of "The Beast' passing by with few migrants seated on top as it crosses Arriaga toward nearby state of Oaxaca

Chahuites, Oaxaca - 26 August 2014

15. Migrants running and jumping onto train

16. Nicaraguan migrant William Martinez arriving at train station in Chahuites after walking several kilometers to avoid check points and raids

17. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) William Martinez, Nicaraguan migrant:

Ixtepec, Chiapas - 26 August 2014

18. Dining room at 'Hermanos en el Camino' (or Brothers on the Path) shelter

19. Catholic nun Teofila Castellanos cutting vegetables for lunch

20. Jorge Ruiz Williams, who escaped from overnight immigration raid, getting registered at shelter

Chiapas-Oaxaca state border - 27 August 2014

21. Immigration checkpoint

22. Various of immigration agents boarding bus and asking passengers to show their documents

San Ramon, Chiapas - 29 August 2014

23. Mexican immigration officers taking two Central American migrants who were travelling on top of cargo train known as "La Bestia", or The Beast

VOICE-OVER SCRIPT:

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AUTHORITIES IN MEXICO ARE UNDERTAKING THE LARGEST CRACKDOWN IN DECADES ON ILLEGAL MIGRATION.

THE MOVE HAS DECREASED THE FLOW OF CENTRAL AMERICANS TRYING TO REACH THE UNITED STATES. IT'S ALSO DRAMATICALLY CUT THE NUMBER OF CHILD MIGRANTS AND FAMILIES ALONG THE PERILOUS ROUTE.

IN THE SOUTHERN STATE OF CHIAPAS, WHICH BORDERS GUATEMALA, CONVOYS OF MEXICAN FEDERAL POLICE AND IMMIGRATION AGENTS SEARCH AND PATROL TRACKS OF THE INFAMOUS FREIGHT TRAIN KNOWN AS THE BEAST. HAULING MIGRANTS FROM THE RAIL CARS AND SENDING THEM TO DEPORTATION CENTERS.

TO AVOID BEING DETAINED, MIGRANTS HIDE IN THE WOODS...BUT THAT IS ALSO WHERE CRIMINALS LURK.

SOUNDBITE (Spanish): Manuel Villalta, Salvadorian migrant:

"We are chased by the (Mexican) federal police, army, immigration (agents). Despite being on top of the train, we run away from them - that's why we suffer so many accidents."

MANY HAVE APPARENTLY DECIDED NOT TO ATTEMPT THE JOURNEY THROUGH MEXICO AT ALL SINCE NEWS OF THE RAIDS AND CHECKPOINTS - COMBINED WITH STEPPED UP EFFORTS IN THE US AND AMONG CENTRAL AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS - REACHED THEIR COMMUNITIES.

SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Luis Fernando Martinez, Resident of Arriaga, Mexico:

"200, 300, 500 migrants used to get on top (of the train) here. Right now with ongoing raids, they're not allowed to get on top (of the train) anymore."

AMERICAN AND MEXICAN OFFICIALS SAY THEY ARE NOTICING THE SAME DROP-OFF ALL ALONG THE ROUTE.

THE ROUND-UPS FOLLOW U-S REQUESTS FOR HELP FROM MEXICO.

THE US GOVERNMENT RELEASED DATA THIS MONTH SHOWING THAT THE NUMBER OF UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN AND CHILDREN TRAVELLING WITH A PARENT ARRESTED ALONG THE SOUTHWEST BORDER OF THE US IN JULY WAS ROUGHLY 13-THOUSAND. HALF WHAT IT HAD BEEN IN JUNE.

YOUNG MEN LIKE WILLIAM MARTINEZ SAY THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES ABLE TO EVADE CAPTURE.

SOUNDBITE (Spanish) William Martinez, Escaped from ???:

"You don't feel very safe (walking in the woods) but you have to travel that way because the road is full of migration agents. Imagine if they catch you there, they'll deport you."

IT IS UNCLEAR HOW LONG MEXICO CAN OR WILL SUSTAIN SUCH A MASSIVE IMMIGRATION OPERATION.

SEALING OFF THE BORDER WITH GUATEMALA IS NEITHER PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE NOR POLITICALLY POPULAR.

FOR NOW THOUGH, THE EFFORT SHOWS NO SIGN OF ABATING.

MATT FRIEDMAN. ASSOCIATED PRESS.

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