The president of Mexico announced on Tuesday that a fire, ignited by migrants fearing deportation, resulted in the deaths of at least 40 people at an immigration detention center in northern Mexico.
The fire broke out on Monday night at a facility located in Ciudad Juarez, which is situated across from El Paso, Texas and is a major crossing point for migrants.
The National Immigration Institute reported that 29 people were injured and are currently in a “delicate-serious” condition. The agency confirmed that at the time of the fire, 68 men from Central and South America were being detained at the facility.
The Mexican attorney general’s office issued a statement identifying the dead and injured as individuals from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. Guatemalans were reportedly the largest group of victims, with 28 of the dead being citizens of that country.
Guatemala’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mario Búcaro, stated that his government is seeking to find those responsible for the tragedy. Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, reported that the fire was started by migrants who were protesting after learning that they were to be deported.
The detention center is located just a short walk from the U.S. border and across the street from the city hall of Juarez.