EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A Salvadoran official wants Mexico’s immigration commissioner to be fired and face criminal charges for a fire that left 40 migrants dead in Juarez.
This is after watching a leaked security video showing security guards and agents from the National Migration Institute (INM) apparently walking away as smoke coming from inside a locked cell engulfs the building on the Mexican side of the Stanton Street Bridge. Thirty-eight migrants died that night and two more have succumbed to smoke and burn injuries since.
“El Salvador demands justice for this crime, which it considers a crime of the state,” said Cindy Mariella Portal Salazar, El Salvador’s vice minister for migrant affairs. “We have the moral standing to demand justice for this massacre the Mexican government has inflicted on our migrant citizens.”
During a Monday visit to Juarez, Portal Salazar told reporters she is not satisfied with the arrest of five guards and INM officers. The five are facing charges or causing injuries or death. Some of the guards told a Juarez lawyer prior to the arrests that a regional INM official told them not to open the cell when the fire broke out.
“El Salvador demands justice for its migrants. We must make diplomacy aside when it comes to defending the lives of our citizens,” she said in comments shared on social media by a Mexican news portal. “We demand that the irresponsible Mexican immigration commissioner be fired – and not just fired but prosecuted. We demand prison time for the guilty, not just who acted during the emergency, but also those responsible for migration policy.”
Francisco Garduño Yáñez Mexico’s immigration commissioner. He was not in Juarez during the fire.
Portal Salazar emphasized that no high-level Mexican officials have been charged in connection with the deadly fire and said the Salvadoran consulate in Juarez found out about the tragedy and the death of five of its citizens on social media, not through the Mexican government.
Portal Salazar said her government is arranging for the return of seven bodies to their families in El Salvador. Five additional Salvadorans remain hospitalized due to injuries sustained in the fire, with two of them still in critical condition, she said.