The deaths of at the very least 39 migrants in a brief detention middle in Ciudad Juarez raises broader questions on migrant detention in Mexico. NPR’s Adrian Florido talks with reporter James Fredrick.
ADRIAN FLORIDO, HOST:
Authorities in Mexico are nonetheless investigating the circumstances round a lethal fireplace at a brief detention middle for migrants on Monday. Not less than 39 individuals had been killed. This middle within the northern border metropolis of Ciudad Juarez was overcrowded, and a few migrants had been protesting a scarcity of meals and water. It is all shedding a highlight on what it is like for individuals who get detained in Mexico after leaving their dwelling international locations. For extra, I am joined by reporter James Fredrick. He covers migration from Mexico Metropolis. Hello, James.
JAMES FREDRICK: Hello, Adrian.
FLORIDO: James, are you able to begin by giving us a way of what number of of us are in migrant detention in Mexico?
FREDRICK: Properly, what I can let you know is that final yr, 2022, Mexican authorities say they detained roughly 440,000 migrants – so virtually half 1,000,000. Most of them come from Central and South America. However there’s a rising quantity who come from additional, from Africa and Asia. These individuals may be detained for as little as a number of hours. Some, although, spend weeks or months in detention. There’s actually two forms of detention facilities right here. One are everlasting, long-term detention facilities, and others are momentary detention facilities just like the one in query in Ciudad Juarez. There’s formally house for about 4,000 in long-term amenities, about 1,800 in these momentary amenities. And, , the long-term ones are speculated to have higher amenities. However I’ve come to study that the circumstances in Ciudad Juarez are extra of the norm, not the exception.
FLORIDO: Properly, what are you able to inform us about what it is like inside one in all these detention facilities?
FREDRICK: I want I might provide you with a firsthand account, however as a journalist, I’m legally prohibited from ever getting into a Mexican migrant detention middle. However I’ve talked to many migrants who’ve been inside, and so they cite the identical points over and over – horrible hygiene, little meals and water, no operating water in loos, huge overcrowding, actually inhumane areas. Individuals who had been inside that Ciudad Juarez facility known as it a calabozo, the Spanish phrase for dungeon. And it isn’t the primary time I’ve heard that phrase utilized by migrants. Humanitarian authorized teams are allowed inside. I talked to one in all them. That is Wendy Castro. She’s the authorized coordinator for the Mexico Metropolis migrant advocacy group Sin Fronteras.
WENDY CASTRO: (Talking Spanish).
FREDRICK: She says it is horrible to see so many individuals for thus lengthy with out even entry to a cellphone name. They can not see their households. They do not have authorized illustration. They can not request asylum. Only a complete host of issues inside.
FLORIDO: How did migrant detention come to be like this in Mexico, James?
FREDRICK: Properly, I do not know if we’d say that there was a time when migrant detention was good or significantly humane in Mexico, nevertheless it has definitely gotten worse in recent times. And that is as a result of Mexico is detaining extra individuals and deporting extra individuals in keeping with U.S. migration coverage. However different points that Castro introduced as much as me is that, formally, the individual in control of that Ciudad Juarez facility was a navy official, which brings up a very regarding level, which is that the Mexican navy could be very concerned in migrant enforcement now. So the identical individuals combating drug cartels are arresting and detaining migrants.
One other factor – there was a hearth at a facility in 2020 the place one migrant died and 20 had been injured. Castro says her group and others complained about this, mentioned modifications must be made. Clearly, modifications weren’t made. So whereas the federal government says it may punish these liable for the deaths in Ciudad Juarez, there’s much more that must be achieved to make these amenities extra humane.
FLORIDO: I have been talking with James Fredrick, reporting from Mexico Metropolis. Thanks, James.
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