EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The death toll from last week’s fire at a migrant detention center in Juarez is now up to 40, the Mexican government has confirmed.
The latest victim is a migrant who was flown Sunday to a specialized burn unit in Mexico City and died on arrival, the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection said in a statement on Monday.
“Over the weekend, six victims of (the fire) at the immigration station in Juarez were transported by army, navy and Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) air ambulances to the National Center for Care and Research of Burn Victims,” the statement said. “Regrettably, one of the victims died upon arrival at the center, which brings to 40 the number of fatalities and 27 injured, with 23 of the injured hospitalized.”
The ministry said five patients at the IMSS hospitals are now in a state of pre-release. The ministry did not address reports that at least one of the burn victims is now being treated in a hospital in El Paso, Texas.
Marisa Limon Garza, executive director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, said the nonprofit assisted the family of a burn victim who wanted to see their relative in El Paso.
“We were supporting (the family) with an exception already approved through CBP One. We supported the family crossing, but we did not work with that individual,” she said. “It’s a positive development for that person and for their family to be able to access care in the United States. Hopefully, it will make a difference in their outcomes.”
According to the President of Mexico, the fire was started by a migrant inside a cell during a protest prompted by rumors they would be repatriated or flow to Southern Mexico. A leaked security video shows a small fire, a migrant kicking the cell door and security guards and National Migration Institute agents walking away just before smoke engulfs the area.
Five guards and agents have been charged with injury causing death and an arrest warrant is out for a sixth. A lawyer who says he was contacted by guards fearing arrest told Border Report the guards contacted a supervisor when the fire broke out and were allegedly told not to open the cell door. Fifteen migrant women being held in a different cell were let out by a guard and are unharmed.