Guards walk away during fire that killed 38 migrants on US border
The authentic video showed that there was no apparent attempt to free the migrants before smoke filled the space and killed 38.
A fire thought to have been caused by migrants protesting against their deportation killed at least 38 people at a Mexican immigration detention center near the US border, authorities said Tuesday, spurring demands for justice.
Many ambulances and firefighters were sent to the National Migration Institute (INM) building in Ciudad Juarez following the incident on Monday.
According to President Andres Manuel López Obrador, the migrants are thought to have started the fire as a protest because they were concerned about being deported.
"They put mats at the door of the shelter and set them on fire as a protest, and did not imagine that it would cause this terrible tragedy," he told journalists.
#Mexican President Andrés López Obrador said at his daily press briefing that the "very regrettable and very sad" catastrophe began on Monday night when migrants detained at the detention center set fire to their mattresses, presumably in protest of their impending deportation.… pic.twitter.com/P4W68N5sXS— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) March 28, 2023
On his account, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi voiced solidarity with relatives of the victims and urged countries in the region "to deal in a humane, just, effective manner with growing population flows through the Americas."
Outside the detention center, anger increased as family members chanted for justice close to a makeshift monument honoring the victims.
Amnesty International said the fire was "a consequence of the restrictive and cruel immigration policies."
Video showcases guards walking away during fire
Guards in a detention facility in northern Mexico rapidly left after migrants lit mattresses on fire and placed them against the bars of their cells, as per security footage released Tuesday. There was no apparent attempt to free the men before smoke filled the space and killed 38.
Two guards run into the camera's field of view in the footage, and one or more migrants can be seen by the metal gate on the other side. But the guards made no attempt to open the cell doors and instead fled as the building quickly filled with billowing clouds of smoke.
The video's authenticity was confirmed by Adán Augusto Lopez, Mexico's interior secretary, in a conversation with local journalist Joaqun López Doriga.
According to a statement from the Mexico attorney general's office, immigration authorities recognized the deceased and injured as being from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador.
On Tuesday, roughly 100 migrants gathered in front of the immigration center to get information about family members.
On March 9, an open letter against the criminalization of migrants and asylum seekers in the city was released by more than 30 migrant shelters and other advocacy groups. It said that authorities had mistreated migrants and had rounded them up with excessive force.
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