Mexican president says migrants started fire that killed 39 near US border
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Mar 28 (EFE).- Mexico’s president on Tuesday said migrants started a fire that killed at least 39 people at a center run by the country’s migration institute (INM) in Ciudad Juarez, located on the border with the United States.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador said some of the migrants at the facility had set fire to mattresses in a form of protest after finding out they were going to be deported.
During a morning press conference, the president explained the incident took place at 9.30 pm (4.40 GMT) in Ciudad Juarez on the Mexican-US border and that most of the victims were from Central America and Venezuela.
“We still do not know exactly the names and nationality of those who unfortunately lost their lives,” he added.
Dozens of migrants were staying at the center that sits on the Mexican side of the Lerdo Stanton International Bridge connecting Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, in Texas. The majority of its temporary residents hailed from Venezuela.
Local eyewitnesses 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 mulls a decision on 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 by 8%.
Mexico’s president Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador is expected to comment on the tragedy during his daily press conference on Tuesday morning.EFE