What is known about the fire in the immigration station in Ciudad Juárez where 40 immigrants died?

Both survivors and guards at the facility told Luis Chaparro, an immigration reporter for Vice News, that immigrants were being extorted for their release.

US Department of Homeland Security

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The fire started on the night of March 27 in the immigration detention center —also called the migration station— of the Mexican federal government’s National Institute of Migration (INM), which is located next to the border between mexico and united statesbetween El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.

To date, 40 immigrants have died: 39 in the fire and another died later in the hospital. There are several in critical condition and those who are well or with minor injuries were relocated to the Leona Vicario shelter, in the same city.

United Nations video Surveillance video of the fire shows detainees trapped in a cell as uniformed immigration agents are seen walking past without opening the cell.

The center of detention it had women and men in separate wings, mostly in Central and South America: Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador, Colombia and Ecuador.

According to Luis Chaparro, an immigration journalist for Vice News, the detained immigrants were protesting the lack of water. Both survivors and facility guards said to him that immigrants were extorted to be released.

In 2019, Cuban migrants caused a fire at this same INM immigration station in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

Those who did not pay remained in detention and risked being sent to Mexico City or being deported to their country of origin. After what happened, a homicide investigation was opened and five people have been arrested.

So to talk about the fire, the victims, and the Mexican federal government’s National Institute of Migration (INM), we spotlight Luis Chaparro, an immigration journalist for Vice News.

More details in our conversation below.

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