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Mexican immigration chief to be charged in deadly migrant center fire

Mexican immigration chief to be charged in deadly migrant center fire
Posted at 9:06 AM, Apr 12, 2023

Prosecutors in Mexico say the country's top immigration official is partly to blame for a deadly fire last month at a migrant detention center.

The fire broke out March 27 at a facility in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just south of El Paso, Texas, after migrants set their mattresses ablaze when learning they were being deported, killing 40 migrants.

In the days after the tragedy, three government immigration officials and two security guards were arrested for leaving the scene without unlocking the doors, leaving people trapped inside.

But officials announced Tuesday that prosecutors will file charges against Francisco Garduño, the head of Mexico’s National Immigration Institute, alleging he failed to address known problems at the detention center.

This comes after repeated calls from within Mexico, from some Central American nations and from the families of the victims to expand the investigation to all areas of responsibility for the National Immigration Institute and anyone involved with the operations of the migrant detention facility.

Mexico’s migrant detention centers have long been the subject of complaints about poor conditions and human rights violations, and evidence of corruption across Mexico's immigration system has also been reported. However, nothing has been done to address these issues.