Mexico: Fire at Juárez Migrant Center Kills Dozens

    Mexico: Fire at Juárez Migrant Center Kills Dozens
    Last updated Mar 28, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via BBC]


    • According to Mexico's National Migration Institute (INM), at least 39 people died on Monday after a fire broke out at a migrant processing center in Juárez, Mexico, located near the Stanton-Lerdo Bridge across from El Paso, Texas.[1]
    • Images from the scene, where the INM say 68 men from Central and South America were staying, show bodies underneath sheets as well as ambulances, firefighters, and vans from the morgue. Twenty-nine people were reportedly taken to the hospital with critical injuries.[2]
    • The Mexican press has reported that many of the victims came from Venezuela, where millions of people have left due to economic instability. Immigration officials reportedly spent hours before the fire rounding up Venezuelans begging in the streets.[3]
    • Though there has been no official statement regarding how the fire started, Mexican Pres. Andrés Manuel López Obrador said migrants anticipating deportation were protesting in the center just before it was set ablaze. Mexico's attorney general's office has opened an inquiry into the matter.[3]
    • Ciudad Juárez, the Mexican city located just across the Rio Grande river from El Paso, has seen an influx of migrants in recent weeks as they await the end of the US' Title 42 pandemic-era migrant expulsion policy.[1]
    • The fire comes several months after a riot inside an immigration center in Tijuana involving Venezuelan migrants that had to be controlled by police and National Guard troops in October. Dozens of others rioted at a center in Tapachula near the border with Guatemala in November.[4]


    Left narrative

    Though they finalized a migration deal in December, the soon-ending Title 42 policy has still left America's southern neighbor overwhelmed by migrants headed through Mexico to the US. Facing pressure from both the Biden admin. and his own citizens to tighten immigration policies, López Obrador still can't get a handle on the situation. The once pro-immigrant politician is in a tight spot, and calls from North American conservatives to take harsher measures aren't helping.

    Right narrative

    In contrast to the Trump admin., which actually deterred illegal immigrants from even trying to reach the US, Biden's migration agreement with Mexico has done very little to mitigate the border crisis. These migrants obviously know that a few deportations here and there won't stop them from reaching America once Title 42 is over, so incidents like this — which is just one symptom of the border crisis — will only continue until lawmakers finally show, though concrete legislation, that people can't simply walk through Mexico into the US.

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