A devastating fire ripped through a dormitory housing migrants in northern Mexico, leaving nearly 40 dead and more than two dozen people injured, officials say.
In what has been called “one of the deadliest incidents” at an immigration facility in Mexico, thirty-nine people were killed and 29 injured when a fire broke out overnight at a holding facility in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican border town across from El Paso, Texas, the Associated Press reported.
#Comunicado 🗞️| @INAMI_mx lamenta el fallecimiento de 39 personas migrantes extranjeras, derivado de un incendio que se originó poco antes de las 22:00 hrs del lunes en el área de alojamiento de la Estancia Provisional de Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua. https://t.co/NCe0yExH9T pic.twitter.com/vhT9cgXzsq
— INM (@INAMI_mx) March 28, 2023
While the cause of the fire has not been disclosed, the National Immigration Institute (INM) announced March 28 that it “energetically rejects the actions that led to this tragedy.” Though they did not elaborate on what those actions were, protests and riots occasionally occur at immigration facilities, according to the AP. (RELATED: Migrants Riots At Mexican Immigration Station, Burn Documents: REPORTS)
Ciudad Juarez is major center for migrants looking to enter the United States. Many asylum seekers wait out the process in the immigration facilities there, the outlet stated. Since the recent uptick in migrant crossings, the facilities overseen by the National Immigration Institute in border towns like Ciudad Juarez have been overwhelmed, the outlet stated.
Earlier in March, a large group of migrants was prevented from entering the U.S. from Ciudad Juarez after attempting to force its way through the Paso Del Norte International Bridge. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz testified before the House Homeland Security Committee the same day that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lacked “operational control” of the border with more than 385,000 illegal migrants slipping past federal authorities since October 2022.
In another incident, over a dozen migrants escaped a border patrol bus in El Paso leading a source from the Border Patrol in El Paso to tell the Daily Caller, “The never-ending disregard to enforce immigration law by the current administration is causing frustration throughout CBP [Customs and Border Protection].”
“Overcrowded detention facilities and limited transportation is a daily occurrence. Migrants that are still arriving at the southern border from the original surge invitation by the president are becoming impatient with extended processing times and turning frustrations against CBP personnel,” the source continued.
Despite the ongoing border crisis, the Biden Administration has announced plans to end Title 42, a Trump-era border order used to expel certain illegal migrants to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, on May 11.
The INM stated they are working with multiple consulates in an attempt to identify the victims of the fire. Officials are also investigating the cause of the blaze and INM has stated they are fully cooperating with authorities.