38 dead in Mexican detention center fire after guards didn’t let migrants out

When smoke began billowing out of a migrant detention center in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Padrón Infante Viangly, a terrified Venezuelan migrant, knew that her husband was still inside.

MORE DETAILS: 39 individuals killed in blaze at immigration detention center in Mexico.

The father of her three children, who were migrants from Rio Grande El Paso, was picked up by immigration agents earlier in the day as part of a recent crackdown. In this city, they were asking for handouts or washing car windows at stoplights.

In a horrific turn of events, it was reported that 38 individuals lost their lives while several others were seriously injured as a result of a fire that broke out during a protest by detainees. The bodies of the migrants were later carried out on stretchers, wrapped in foil blankets. Padrón Infante, who witnessed the immigration agents rushing out of the building after the fire started late on Monday, described the scene as a moment of horror and shock.

Infante Padrón, the husband of Eduard Caraballo López, stated that he only survived with light injuries at the end, as the release was scheduled near a door. “I didn’t see him anywhere, and I was desperate because I saw multiple bodies,” she said.

Many individuals lost their lives and the space became engulfed in smoke before officials tried to free the individuals — nearly all of whom were from Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, and El Salvador. Mexico is pondering a question: Why didn’t she perceive that what she witnessed in those initial moments would become the focal point?

Padrón Infante stated, “The firefighters never rescued them until the men were completely out.” “They allowed the women and employees dealing with immigration to evacuate, as there was smoke everywhere.”

Infante Padrón stated, “It was their duty to unlock the doors of the bar and rescue those individuals, no matter if there were prisoners, no matter if they would escape, no matter what occurred. They had an obligation to save those lives,” “They were the only ones with the key.”

Immigration authorities said they released 15 women when the fire broke out, but have not explained why no men were let out.

President Manuel Andrés Obrador López stated on Wednesday that both security guards and immigration agents at the facility, which were currently contracted from a private contractor, would be punished for any misconduct.

Pope Francis on Wednesday offered prayers at the end of his general audience for the victims who died in the “tragic fire.”.

According to leaked video surveillance, migrants were reportedly considering placing foam mattresses against the bars of their cell in order to set them on fire and escape detention.

In the video confirmed later by the government, at least one migrant appears to rush into the camera frame as two people dressed as guards on the other side of the metal gate open the cell doors and hurry away, instead of making any effort to appear and fill the structure within seconds with billowing clouds of smoke.

During a mass held at Campos Torres Guadalupe José Mons, Bishop passionately exclaimed, “demise, demise, demise,” questioning the essence of our humanity and the value we place on human lives.

Guatemala has already stated that many of its citizens were injured, dead, or unidentified in the incomplete remains. The National Immigration Institute of Mexico, which operated the facility, said it was cooperating in the investigation.

U.S. Authorities have offered to help treat some of the 28 victims in critical or serious condition, most apparently from smoke inhalation.

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Advocacy groups attributed the tragedy caused by a prolonged sequence of decisions to the residents of Ciudad Juarez, who were complaining about the multitude of migrants soliciting for charity on street corners, as well as the immigration policymakers in Mexico and the United States, and leaders in countries such as Venezuela and Central America.

“Mexico’s immigration policy is lethal,” over 30 migrant shelters and other advocacy organizations stated on Tuesday.

The same advocacy organizations published an open letter on March 9th, complaining about the excessive use of force by municipal police in questioning people on the street without any reason, including rounding them up and abusing migrants, and accusing the authorities of Ciudad Juarez of criminalizing asylum-seekers and migrants.

Obrador López stated, “They never imagined that this would cause such a terrible misfortune.” The Mexican president said that the fire started by protesting migrants would result in them being moved or deported after learning about it.

In order to traverse the entire nation once more, the migrants would need to journey to the southern region of Mexico, not necessarily to their countries of origin. However, according to immigration advocate Irineo Mujica, they expressed apprehension about potential repatriation.

Mujica stated that when people reach the northern area, it seems like a game of ping-pong as they are redirected towards the southern region.

Mujica stated, “Today was the time when the bomb exploded. The bomb was ticking, creating a sheer number of people. We had said that with the number of people.”

The tired residents of Ciudad Juarez were rounded up for asking money or blocking border crossings because they were stuck in Ciudad Juarez due to the U.S. Immigration policies that do not allow them to cross the border or file asylum claims.

The high level of frustration was evident earlier this month when hundreds of Venezuelan migrants, mostly, tried to force their way across the international bridges in Ciudad Juarez, acting on false rumors that the United States would allow them to enter the country despite their blocked authorities.

Residents saw begging as a troublesome and hazardous activity, particularly at intersections, where authorities urged them to refrain from giving money to migrants. Mayor Cuellar Pérez Cruz of Ciudad Juarez started campaigning to inform migrants that there were shelters available and to remove them from the streets.

For the migrants, the blaze is another calamity on a lengthy path of sorrow.

Mexico is posing the identical inquiry they raised in numerous instances. They insist on collecting details concerning family members who are expected to assemble outside the doors of the immigration facility on Tuesday, approximately 100 migrants.

In search of her stepbrother, Orlando Maldonado, who had been journeying alongside her, Katiuska Márquez, a 23-year-old Venezuelan lady, was accompanied by her two kids, aged 2 and 4.

She expressed, “We are curious to ascertain his current state – whether he is living or deceased.” She pondered over the miraculous survival of all the guards present inside, while only the migrants perished. “How could they possibly have failed to rescue them?”

Verza from Mexico City reported that Elliot Spagat in San Diego, Sonia Pérez D. In Guatemala City, Mark Stevenson in Mexico City, Guadalupe Peñuelas in Ciudad Juarez, and Associated Press videojournalist Alicia Fernández contributed to this report.