Protest against immigration agents’ arrest over Mexican migrant center fire

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Mar 30 (EFE).- A dozen agents of the National Institute of Migration (NIM) protested Thursday against the arrest of three of their colleagues by Mexico’s attorney general’s office in connection with the case of 39 migrants who died in a fire at a detention center in Ciudad Juárez, on the US border.

The demonstration was held after Mexican authorities announced that five people had been arrested in connection with the migrants’ deaths, including three NIM officials and two private security officers.

The NIM officials demonstrated at the headquarters of the Bridge of the Americas, which links Mexico with the United States, and described their colleagues’ detention as “unjustified.”

One of the protesters, Jesús Ignacio Molina Leyva, told EFE that the detained NIM officials “did what they could.”

He said that a video circulating on social media showed one of his colleagues taking a fire extinguisher to put out the fire but added it did not work properly and failed to extinguish it.

He said his colleagues were not “inhumane” and that they were doing their job as per the country’s migration law.

He added that senior officials must also be tried.

“All the commissioners are the first ones who should be in jail, not us (agents) who just do our job,” he said.

At his daily press conference on Thursday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised that there would be no impunity after the fire that killed the migrants but avoided responding if the head of the National Institute of Migration, Francisco Garduño Yáñez, would resign and if the private security company in charge of the migrant facility belonged to a Nicaraguan consul.

Scrutiny of Mexico’s government has grown since Monday’s fire at an NIM migrant detention center in Ciudad Juárez, where nearly 70 migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela were being held for deportation.

Leaked security videos show agents standing by as detained migrants ask them to open the door while fellow migrants have said that the tragedy “could be averted.”

Lopez Obrador also evaded calling for Garduño Yáñez’s resignation despite the demands of the opposition and human rights defenders.

The Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection announced Wednesday that it had identified eight people who may be responsible for the fire, including two federal agents, a state immigration officer and five members of the private security company. EFE


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