Late last week, at least 80 illegal immigrants were abducted from a train by armed gunmen in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz. According to accounts, the train operators “didn’t stop where they usually do.… Instead, they continued on to a remote area where the trains that come from Coatzacoalcos pass by.” There the gunmen were waiting and “went straight—like they already knew—to (the cars in which the) women and children were riding.”

Sadly, this violence is nothing new. According to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission, more than 400 kidnappings involving 22,000 individuals likely occur in Mexico each year.

Along the tracks, criminal gangs often lie in waiting, preying on illegal immigrants where they hop off the train to avoid checkpoints. Other times, train drivers, engineers, and private security guards aboard the trains are complicit, allowing criminal organizations or authorities to board the trains and abduct illegal immigrants.

Deprived of food, beaten, tied, gagged, even drugged or burned, these immigrants have horrific tales to tell. This human tragedy ultimately demands that something be done. For its part, the United States should seek comprehensive and robust strategies to combat human smuggling, violence, and the huge numbers of illegal aliens seeking to cross our borders.

Amnesty would only create greater incentives to immigrate illegally, bringing with it a whole new wave of illegal immigrants. Instead the U.S. should look to promote partnerships with nations to combat human smuggling and dismantle trafficking networks, as well as efforts to further justice, law enforcement, and free-market reforms throughout the region. These efforts—coupled with increased interior enforcement within the U.S. and the formation of an organized strategy for manpower, technology, and other resources along the border—will help stem the tide of violence and the flow of illegal immigrants to the United States.

As the violence and tragedy grows, one thing is certain: It is time to focus on the bigger picture of illegal immigration and avoid the narrow-minded solution of mass amnesty.