At least 39 migrants were killed, and 29 others were injured in a fire at an immigration detention facility in northern Mexico near the US border, an official said on March 28.
The incident happened at a Ciudad Juarez facility across the border from EI Paso, Texas.
The fire was started by migrants inside the facility in protest after learning they would be deported, according to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
“They never imagined that this would cause this terrible misfortune,” López Obrador said, adding that the director of the country’s immigration agency was on the scene.
According to media reports, Mexico’s attorney general’s office has launched an inquiry with investigators at the scene.
Ciudad Juarez is one of the main entry points for migrants into the United States. Its shelters are crowded with migrants looking for openings to cross or who have applied for asylum in the US and are waiting out of the process.
Some 200,000 people from Central or South America try to reach the US through Mexico every month. Most seek asylum due to the poverty and violence in their home country.
According to a recent report by the International Organization for Migration, about 7,661 migrants have died or disappeared on the way to the US since 2014, while 988 have perished in accidents.