March 5. 2024. 12:39

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Fire in Mexico kills at least 39 in migration centre near US border

At least 39 people were killed Monday night and 29 others injured when a fire broke out at a government-run migration facility in northern Mexico, near the border with the United States, authorities have said.

The fire broke out at the National Migration Institute in Ciudad Juárez, a border city across from El Paso, Texas, shortly before 10pm in the facility’s accommodation area, according to a statement by the institute.

Agency officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but said they had lodged a complaint so that government authorities can open an investigation, according to the statement.

Television footage showed a swarm of police cars, ambulances and other emergency vehicles in the area.

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Several news outlets said personnel from the institute had been cracking down on migrants in the city earlier in the day, and that there had been tension at the institute between migrants and the staff.

Ciudad Juárez is one of the border communities in Mexico where migrants from Cuba, Central America and elsewhere wait as they try to enter the United States.

In December, the US supreme court said a pandemic-era health measure that restricted migration at the southern border would remain in place for the time being. That measure, known as Title 42, has allowed migrants who might otherwise qualify for asylum to be swiftly expelled at the border.

The court’s ruling delayed the potential for a large increase in unlawful crossings into the US from Mexico. But the measure is scheduled to expire in early May. — This article originally appeared in The New York Times.