39 dead after fire blazes through migrant centre on US-Mexico border

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39 dead after fire blazes through migrant centre on US-Mexico border

A deadly fire has spread through a migrant processing centre in Ciudad Juárez on the US-Mexico border.

At least 39 people died in the blaze, Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM) said.

Sixty-eight men from Central and South America were inside the INM-run centre when the fire broke out shortly before 22:00 local time (04:00 GMT).

Photos from the scene show body bags lined up on the pavement outside.

Local media say the migrants inside the building where the blaze happened had been picked up by the authorities on Monday and taken to the centre. The facility is located near the Stanton-Lerdo Bridge, which links Mexico and the US.

There has been no official statement about what may have caused the blaze but local newspapers reported that there had been a disturbance inside just before the fire.

Many of the victims are thought to be Venezuelans trying to make their way to the United States.

Ciudad Juárez, the Mexican city located just across the Rio Grande river from El Paso, Texas, has seen an influx of people in recent weeks.

Many migrants have been heading to the southern border of the United States in expectation of an end to Title 42, a policy which gives the US government the power to quickly expel migrants trying to cross its border.

Title 42, which allows US border officials to deny individuals entry to the US “to prevent the spread of communicable disease” was first implemented at the start of the Covid pandemic.

The Biden Administration has announced its intention to end the use of the Trump-era policy but for now it remains in place.

Since the announcement, the number of migrants in Ciudad Juárez awaiting the possible lifting of the restrictions has swelled.