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Head of Mexico's National Institute of Migration faces criminal charges for deadly Juárez fire

Authorities work at the site of a deadly fire at an immigration detention center, where covered bodies lie on the ground in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
Christian Chavez
/
AP
Authorities work at the site of a deadly fire at an immigration detention center, where covered bodies lie on the ground in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

Government officials in Mexico faced criminal charges in connection with a fire last month that killed at least 40 migrants at an immigrant detention center in the Mexican border city of Juárez.

Mexico's attorney general said in a statement that it launched criminal proceedings against Francisco Garduño, the head of Mexico's National Migration Institute, and four other officials.

Garduño led Mexico’s prison system before leading its agency in charge of immigration. He has faced scrutiny from human rights groups for what they call systemic issues with the agency.

Five lower level guards and a Venezuelan migrant already faced homicide charges related to the fire.

Garduño and another high-ranking official failed to "watch over, protect and ensure safety for the people and facilities in their charge," according to the statement.

Video reviewed by TPR showed guards at the facility walking away as the fire raged.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the guards didn’t have the keys to the cells.

The statement also alleged officials showed a "pattern of irresponsibility," and they pointed to a similar fire at migrant facility in Tenosique, Tabasco, in 2020, where one person died an 14 were injured.

It is unclear what criminal charges are being pursued against the officials.


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TPR's News Director Katz leads the organization’s news and journalism efforts, overseeing the newsroom’s day-to-day management and the development of a strategic vision for the news division. He also serves on the organization’s executive leadership team. TPR’s news team currently has 16 staff members, including reporters dedicated to in-depth coverage of subjects including Arts & Culture, Bioscience & Medicine, Education, Technology & Entrepreneurship, Military & Veterans Issues and State Government.
Marian Navarro