Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) said during “la mañanera,” the morning press conference that his government holds every day, that the fire that destroyed the National Institute for Migrants in Ciudad Juarez was caused by the migrants themselves:
This had to do with a protest that they started, we suppose, when they found out that they were going to be deported, mobilized. As a protest, they put mattresses at the door of the shelter and set them on fire, and they did not imagine that this was going to cause this terrible misfortune.
The fire, in which 39 people lost their lives and 29 others were injured, is one of the deadliest incidents ever recorded in a National Migration Institute building. The people who were housed there are mainly from Central America and Venezuela, although the identities of the deceased are not yet known:
What we know so far is that they are mainly migrants from Central America and some from Venezuela. We do not yet know exactly the names and nationalities of those who unfortunately lost their lives, so it is very sad that this is happening.
The investigation is ongoing. According to the Mexican president, the director of migration is already in Ciudad Juarez to provide assistance. All authorities who were involved with the fire are present, as well as representatives from the attorney general's office, which is already prepared "to proceed legally."
The problems with migrants had been going on for a long time
This is not an isolated incident. The problems go back much further. There have been many quarrels between the authorities and the immigrants. They had increased in recent weeks in the town near El Paso, Texas. As the AP reports, shelters there "are full of people waiting for opportunities to cross into the United States or who have applied for asylum there and are awaiting processing."
In fact, a few weeks ago, the news agency reported that several immigrants, mostly from Venezuela, had attempted to cross the border illegally. They did so following a rumor, which later turned out to be false, that the United States would allow them to enter the country legally.
When they learned of their impending deportation, they acted. They did so by blocking the doors of the Mexican Migration Institute with mattresses that they set on fire. But they did not realize, AMLO assured, the great tragedy they would cause.