Mexico Opens Homicide Probe into Migrant Center Fire

    Mexico Opens Homicide Probe into Migrant Center Fire
    Last updated Mar 30, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via CNN]


    • On Wednesday, Mexican authorities announced a probe into the deadly blaze at a migrant detention center in Ciudad Juárez earlier this week, as public servants and private security guards allegedly took no action to help detainees escape.[1]
    • This comes after a surveillance video — authenticated by Interior Minister Adán Augusto López — emerged, showing migrants trapped in locked cells while two guards appeared to make no attempt to release them as smoke filled the area.[2]
    • Prosecutors have identified nine suspects responsible for the deaths at the Juárez migrant center, with four arrest warrants expected to be issued on Thursday. One of them is reportedly for a migrant suspected of starting the fire.[3]
    • Mexico's Pres. Andrés Manuel López Obrador claimed Tuesday that detainees had started the fire in protest over expected deportations, further stating that those responsible for this tragedy would "be punished in conformity with the law.[4]
    • According to the National Migration Institute (IMN), nearly 40 people died on Monday after a blaze broke out at a migrant processing center where 68 men from Central and South America –most from Venezuela– were staying. Several others were reportedly taken to the hospital with critical injuries.[5]
    • The incident, one of the deadliest migrant tragedies in years, comes as the US and Mexico struggle to deal with record levels of border crossings. Earlier this month, hundreds of migrants tried to force their way across an international bridge connecting Ciudad Juárez and El Paso.[6]


    Narrative A

    This appalling tragedy in Ciudad Juárez is just the latest in Mexico's long record of human rights abuses against migrants, who are commonly treated as criminals under the country's immigration policy. As there is plenty of evidence that Mexican officials have fallen short of their duty of care toward detainees by purposefully not helping them, this incident is an evident homicide case.

    Narrative B

    Though the blame game surrounding this fire has put irregular migration and the behavior of both migrants and Mexican officials in the spotlight, it still misses an important factor contributing to this tragedy. While not causing these deaths alone, American border policies have aggravated long-standing problems by restraining legal entry and failing to discourage migrants from attempting to enter the US.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that the order providing for Title 42 expulsions will no longer be in effect in the US by June 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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