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39 Killed At Migrant Detention Facility Near U.S.-Mexico Border

Dozens of others reportedly injured after migrants set fire to protest deportations

Thirty-nine migrants have died in a fire at an immigration detention facility in the Mexican city of Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas.

The fire began just before 10 p.m. on Monday March 27 at the center, which held 68 elderly men from Central and South America, according to a statement from the National Institute of Migration (INM).

INM officials say that at least 28 of the individuals who perished in the fire were Guatemalan nationals and that authorities are coordinating with families to have their remains returned.

The INM also said that 29 other migrants were injured and were transferred to four local hospitals for treatment.

“Irregular migration carries with it a series of risks, which have once again become evident; once again we call on the population to analyze and make the right decisions before embarking on such journeys, which often have no return or final destination,” the institute said in a separate statement posted to Twitter. 

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the fire at the migrant facility was caused by migrants protesting deportations.

“This had to do with a protest that they started, from, we suppose, that they found out that they were going to be deported, mobilized, and as a protest, at the door of the shelter they put mats and they set them on fire and they did not imagine that this was going to cause this terrible misfortune,” he said during his morning conference.

The border city of El Paso has been a hotbed of illegal migration activity, draining local resources and prompting state and local officials to declare a state of emergency.

Just two weeks ago, a caravan of roughly 1,000 migrants attempted to storm the U.S. southern border at a port of entry in El Paso, which sparked a response from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Mexican military personnel, who used concrete barriers and barbed wire to control the crowd.

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