Mexico immigration chief is charged over deadly detention facility fire that killed 40 migrants after agency ignored reports of overcrowding – but is allowed to keep his job
- Francisco Garduño, the director of Mexico’s National Migration Institute, will stand trial over the deaths of 40 migrants at a detention center on March 27
- The migrants died after one or two of them set mattresses on fire inside a jail cell
- Garduño will be allowed to remain free during the proceedings and will continue to fulfill his role as the agency’s chief
The head of Mexico‘s immigration agency has been charged for the fire that killed 40 migrants at a detention center in the northern border town of Ciudad Juárez last month.
Judge Víctor Hernández found that there was enough evidence for Francisco Garduño, director of the National Migration Institute, to stand trial during a hearing that was held Sunday.
Hernández sided with the Attorney General’s Office assessment of Garduño, that while it was impossible for him to present at several places at the same time, it was his rightful duty as the agency’s director to protect the livelihood of all of the migrants who were held at the holding facility.
In addition, he agreed that the National Migration Institute director disregarded reports of overcrowding, lack of water and sanitation issues at the detention center.
A security guard sits while migrants gather near a cell door at a migrant detention center in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez, where 40 detainees were killed during a fire on March 27
National Immigration Institute director, Francisco Garduño, will have to stand trial for the fire that killed 40 migrants at a detention center in Ciudad Juárez on March 27, a judge announced Sunday. However, Garduño will continue to perform his duties as the agency chief and will allowed to remain free during the proceedings
Garduño will be allowed to remain free during the proceedings and will be allowed to perform his role as the agency director after Hernández rejected a petition from the prosecutors to remove him.
His lawyer, Rodolfo Pérez, told The Associated Press that they will try to reach an agreement for reparations to the victims in order to avoid a trial.
‘I will keep working … until othered otherwise,’ Garduño told a bevy of reporters after leaving the Chihuahua Federal Criminal Justice Center.
The March 27 fire was reportedly initiated by one or more of the migrants to protest the inhumane conditions at the Ciudad Juárez detention center.
Surveillance camera footage showed migrants placing mattresses behind the jail cell bars moments before smoke engulfed the area. None of the guards present attempted to open the cell doors to the detainees.
The migrants placed mattresses behind the cell bars to block the view of the guards moments before at least one or two of the detainees set the mattresses on fire
An immigration detention center guard looks into the jail cell moments before the migrant detainees set mattresses on fire in an incident that left 40 migrants dead and two dozen injured on March 27
Female detainees in a dorm room react to the smell of smoke at the Ciudad Juárez detention. center where 40 male migrants were killed March 27
At least 68 migrants, most from Central America, were in the cell at the time of the fire and two dozen were treated for injuries.
Despite the charges, Garduño continued to receive the backing of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The president refused to comment on him during his daily press briefing Monday, comparing reports of the charges to sensationalist journalism.
‘I no longer want the yellow journalism to be used in the Mexican press as news,’ López Obrador said. ‘If I tell you something about Garduño, tomorrow that is the cover, ‘Garduño in the headlines’. Yes, we are going to do a review and we are going to inform you.’