La Bestia: A Perilous Journey for Migrants: Background information when reading We Are Not from Here

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We Are Not from Here

by Jenny Torres Sanchez

We Are Not from Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez X
We Are Not from Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez
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  • First Published:
    May 2020, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2021, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Catherine M Andronik
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About this Book

La Bestia: A Perilous Journey for Migrants

This article relates to We Are Not from Here

Migrants riding atop La Bestia in VeracruzIn Jenny Torres Sanchez's young adult novel We Are Not from Here, three Guatemalan teenagers embark on a dangerous journey to the United States, part of which takes place on top of La Bestia (The Beast). This is the commonly used name for the train that spans the length of Mexico frequently boarded by migrants seeking to bypass immigration checkpoints en route to the U.S. Its other common name is perhaps less lyrical but more descriptive: El tren de la muerta, the train of death. In the novel, the characters switch from train to train, revealing that there is no single La Bestia; this is a beast made of many parts.

Migrants have been riding La Bestia for decades, though the popularity of this method of travel waned considerably in 2014 and for a few years after, as Mexican authorities began raiding the trains and detaining migrants. However, ridership surged in recent years; Mexican immigration agents detained 43,258 migrants from April to May of 2019. It's estimated that up to half...

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