Dozens killed as fire engulfs migrant center near Mexico’s US border
Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Mar 28 (EFE).- At least 37 people have died after a fire broke out at a migrant center run by Mexico’s national migration institute (INM) in Ciudad Juárez, located on the border with the United States, authorities told Efe Tuesday.
Efe could confirm that dozens of body bags were laid on the ground outside the center near the Río Grande that separates Mexico from the US.
Dozens of migrants were staying at the center that sits on the Mexican side of the Lerdo Stanton International Bridge connecting Ciudad Juárez and El Paso, in Texas. The majority of its temporary residents hailed from Venezuela.
While officials have yet to comment on the origin of the blaze, local eyewitness told the press that it began in an area of the center where migrant men were being held and that some of them became trapped.
Before the fire, INM agents had carried out an operation to remove migrants from the streets of the city, where they had been begging.
The number of migrants in the area has increased since the US this year maintained its policy of immediately deporting irregular migrants from Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba who arrive overland under the controversial Title 42.
In 2022, the region witnessed a record number of migrant arrivals with some 2.76 million undocumented people being detained at the border.
The International Organization for Migration said the number of migrants passing through Mexican territory last year rose 8%.
Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador is expected to comment on the tragedy during his daily press conference on Tuesday morning.EFE