REPORT: Mexico arrests 2nd migrant in detention center fire that killed 40

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MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities have arrested a second migrant for his alleged involvement in a March fire set inside a border detention center that left 40 migrants dead and dozens injured, two federal officials said Friday.

One of the officials, who both requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the arrest publicly, said the Venezuelan man was arrested Thursday night at a hotel in Ciudad Juarez where federal authorities had been housing migrants discharged from hospitals.

On March 27, a small number of the migrants being held in the detention facility across the border from El Paso, Texas, started a fire in their cell apparently to protest conditions. Their highly flammable mattresses quickly filled the area with smoke and guards fled without unlocking their cell. Most of the victims were Central Americans and Venezuelans.


Charges have been brought against Francisco Garduño, the head of Mexico’s National Immigration Institute, and another high-ranking official for failing to fulfill their duties in protecting migrants in custody. Despite requests from prosecutors to remove them from their positions, both individuals remain free and in their jobs.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has a longstanding friendship with Garduño, has come to his defense. Additionally, six other immigration officials, including a retired Army officer, have been charged with homicide and causing injury, while investigations into possible corruption and agency negligence are also underway.

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