At least 39 people have died and 29 have been injured in a fire in a detention center of the National Institute of Migration (INM) in Ciudad Juárez, in northern Mexico, next to the border with the United States, as reported by the agency. government in a statement.
In the area of the incident, near the Rio Grande that divides both countries, EFE has verified dozens of bags containing the bodies of migrants who have perished in the fire. At the facility, located on the Stanton-Lerdo International Bridge that connects Ciudad Juárez with El Paso, Texas, there were dozens of migrants detained.
According to the agency, there were 68 men of legal age from Central and South America at the center. EFE and the Reuters agency report that many were from Venezuela.
The injured have been taken to four local hospitals. The INM has reported that the fire started shortly before 10:00 p.m. this Monday “in the accommodation area of the Provisional Stay.”
The agency says that “a complaint has been filed with the corresponding authorities so that what happened is investigated and, where appropriate, proceed accordingly” and that it has reported the fact to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) so that “intervene in legal and safeguard procedures for foreigners.”
“The National Institute of Migration strongly rejects the acts that led to this tragedy,” the statement reads.
The origin of the fire is still unknown, but there are witnesses who have told local media that the fire started in the area where the men were being held and some of them were trapped by the flames.
Before the incident, INM agents had carried out an operation to get migrants begging from the streets.
The presence of migrants in the area has intensified this year since the United States announced new measures, which include the immediate deportation of migrants from Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba who arrive by land under title 42.
The region is experiencing a record migratory flow, with 2.76 million undocumented immigrants detained at the US-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022 and, according to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the migratory flow increased 8% in Mexican territory.