A fire at the facilities of the National Institute of Migration in Ciudad Juárez (northeast Mexico) has left at least 39 dead this Monday night, as confirmed by the National Institute of Migration (INM) through a press release.
The victims are migrants, the majority from Central America and Venezuela, who were detained at the facilities of the federal center.
They had been arrested that same day in the city on the border with the United States and were apparently inside locked rooms, according to a source from the Chihuahua State Government told EL PAÍS.
The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has attributed the incident to the fact that the migrants burned mats in protest when they thought they were going to be deported.
There are at least 29 other people injured in a "delicate-serious" state,
This Monday, agents from the National Migration Institute detained more than 70 people in Ciudad Juárez for alleged disturbances on public roads.
Later they were installed in several cells on the left side of the building, which depends on the federal government.
López Obrador said this Tuesday at his conference that the migrants “found out that they were going to be deported”: “As a protest, they put mats at the door of the shelter and set them on fire.
They did not imagine that this was going to cause this terrible misfortune.
According to the state government, the fire started in the male area and spread from there.
All the fatalities are men: 37 died on the spot and another two lost their lives at the General Hospital.
15 women “without injuries” were also evacuated from the immigration building, according to the Chihuahua Executive.
"There are a total of 83 migrants and seven evacuated employees," he said in a statement.
The first images of this Tuesday morning showed dozens of bodies piled up on the outskirts of the building, which is located on the Stanton-Lerdo International Bridge.
Both firefighters and the National Guard have come to the scene to attend to the victims.
The Attorney General's Office has assumed the investigation.
Viangly, a Venezuelan migrant, cries next to an ambulance that is evacuating her husband. JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ (REUTERS)
Emergency personnel next to several corpses after the fire in a center of the National Institute of Migration (INM) in Ciudad Juárez, on the northern border of Mexico. JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ (REUTERS)
Health personnel transport an injured person after the fire in Ciudad Juárez, this Tuesday.
JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ (REUTERS)
Health personnel transfer an injured person after the fire. JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ (REUTERS)
Emergency personnel transport a migrant after the fire.
JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ (REUTERS)
Several bodies remain on the ground after the fire at the facilities of the National Institute of Migration (INM), in Ciudad Juárez.
Luis Torres (EFE)
Rescue personnel go to the fire at the facilities of the National Institute of Migration (INM), in Ciudad Juárez.Luis Torres (EFE)
Ciudad Juárez has become a pressure cooker with the arrival of numerous groups of migrants trying to cross north or, in the meantime, seek asylum in Mexico.
The region is experiencing a record migratory flow, with 2.76 million people detained at the US-Mexico border in 2022. According to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the migratory flow increased by 8% in Mexican territory.
Last December, any immigration record was pulverized: US border agents detained 251,487 people, that is, on average, more than 8,000 people a day.
In the same month, but in 2019, there were barely 40,000.
Of these detainees, according to data from the Customs and Border Control Office (CBP), 202,000 received the so-called Title 8, which allows them to be deported to their countries of origin, and the rest, almost 50,000. , were sent to Mexico under the controversial Title 42. This old directive, which was revived by Donald Trump, allows the rejection of foreign citizens, including asylum seekers, alleging health reasons, in this case, the coronavirus pandemic.
A pretext rejected by human rights organizations and that the Joe Biden government has not yet withdrawn.
In this context, with Mexico turned into a tense containment room and under pressure from the Republican States, Biden announced on January 5 the implementation of a new program to grant 30,000 special permits each month to migrants from Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua.
However, these visas, which are designed to discourage land crossings, can only be applied for if you are entering the country by air and have not attempted to cross the border illegally.
Meanwhile, thousands of migrants have been stranded in Mexico without the possibility of accessing these permits and without receiving asylum in the country.
Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS México newsletter and receive all the key information on current affairs in this country