Thursday, April 6, 2023

Migrants Died in Detention Fire Due to Alleged Bribery Scheme by Guards in Mexico

From: Kevin S.
Sent: April 6, 2023
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Fw: Migrants Died in Detention Fire Due to Alleged Bribery Scheme by Guards in Mexico

Migrants Died in Detention Fire
On March 27, 2023, 39 migrants died in a detention center fire in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, because they couldn't or wouldn't pay a $200 bribe to be released. At least one migrant allegedly started the fire in protest of not receiving food and water from guards for 10 hours. The detention center was described as a defacto "extortion center," where only migrants with the means to pay could be released, and others would be sent to Mexico City or deported.

Three survivors and two guards at the facility told VICE World News that the detention center was run by officers from Mexico's National Migration Institute (INM) and private security guards who scammed and extorted migrants in detention. Family members of the detained migrants allegedly deposited extortion payments into the personal bank accounts of the private security guards to avoid a paper trail. The profits were then shared among those running the scheme, including INM personnel.

One migrant who survived, Joan, said he paid $200 to get out of the detention center before the 7 p.m. deadline given by guards. He said the guards told him that he would be deported the next day if he didn't deposit the money. Joan was released four hours after being detained in the center, and his family's payment saved his life.

The allegations of extortion and bribery promises to fuel further outrage at the Mexican government over the dozens of deaths in the fire. They may also explain why immigration officials in Ciudad Juárez arrested hundreds of migrants, including families with children, the day of the fire and brought them to the detention center. The private security guards who worked at the detention center said each migrant paid around $200 to $500 to be released, and the doors were locked at 7 p.m. If they paid before then, they were let out; otherwise, they were deported or sent to Mexico City.


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