A total of 46,716 Central Americans were deported from Mexico between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, 2011, said the National Migration Institute (INM).

The majority of the migrants - 41,215 - were men and nearly half, some 23,560, were from Guatemala, the INM said in a statement.

All of the migrants were deported in an "easy, orderly, dignified and safe" manner, the INM said.

The Central Americans who were returned to their countries accounted for 74 percent of the foreigners processed at Mexican immigration facilities.

The remaining foreigners were either given asylum, granted humanitarian visas or sent home using different repatriation systems, the INM said.

An estimated 300,000 Central Americans undertake the hazardous journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States.

The trek is a dangerous one, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants.

Gangs kidnap, exploit and murder migrants, who are often targeted in extortion schemes, Mexican officials said.

Central American migrants follow a long route that first takes them into Chiapas state, which is on the border with Guatemala, walking part of the way or riding aboard freight trains, buses and cargo trucks.

The flow of migrants has increased markedly in the northern and northeastern parts of Mexico since U.S. officials increased security along the border in the northwestern part of the country.

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