Fire Started by Migrants Facing Deportation Kills at Least 39 Near El Paso

( – At least 39 people were killed on Monday after migrants started a fire at an immigration facility near El Paso, Texas, in response to news that they may be deported back to their home countries amid rising tensions with Mexican immigration officials.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed on Tuesday morning that a handful of migrants blocked off an entrance to a National Institute of Migration station by stacking up mattresses and setting them on fire. The action was a form of protest after the migrants learned they would be deported back to their home countries.

The Mexican president said it is assumed “that they found out that they were going to be deported” and in response as a form of protest, mobilized at the shelter entrance where “they put up mattresses and set them on fire” but “did not imagine that this was going to cause this terrible disgrace.”

Aside from the 39 reported dead, 29 others were injured and are in critical condition, according to the El Paso Times.

The facility is located in Ciudad Juarez, a city just across the border from El Paso. Mexican authorities rounded up at least 68 migrants on Monday, most of whom originated from Venezuela, and brought them to the facility to eventually be transferred to Mexico City or deported from the country.

Like Americans dealing with the same situation on the other side of the border, local residents of the Mexican city reported the migrants, who are arriving in droves and hoping to cross into the United States, have become a nuisance.

As survivors of the fire receive hospital treatment, officials are still in the process of identifying the dead. This latest tragedy highlights the dire situation happening at the border, and that it is not only affecting the United States, but Mexico as well.

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