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Mexican authorities and firefighters removed injured migrants from inside the National Migration Institute building during a fire in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, March 27. At least 38 people at the immigration detention center on the U.S. border died in the fire that broke out at the facility overnight, according to a statement issued by the center.
Mexican authorities and firefighters removed injured migrants from inside the National Migration Institute building during a fire in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, March 27. At least 38 people at the immigration detention center on the U.S. border died in the fire that broke out at the facility overnight, according to a statement issued by the center.
Photo Credit: Jose Luis Gonzalez | Reuters

Pope Francis prays for migrants killed in ‘tragic’ fire near U.S.-Mexico border

At least 38 people were killed in fire in a migrant processing center in Ciudad Juárez

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis prayed for the victims of a “tragic” fire that killed at least 38 people and injured some 29 others at a migrant processing center in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, March 27.

During his greeting to the Spanish-speaking faithful at his March 29 general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the pope dedicated a silent prayer to the victims and their families.

“Let us pray for the migrants that died yesterday in a tragic fire in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. May the Lord receive them in His kingdom and console the families,” he said before bowing his head in silence.

A woman in the crowd in St. Peter’s Square stood and waved a Mexican flag.

Mexican authorities said the fire broke out when the migrants set mattresses on fire after learning they would be deported. Various news reports said a released video showed guards seeming to walk away as the fire grew.

The migrant processing center in Ciudad Juárez sits across from El Paso, Texas, along the United States’ border with Mexico. The dead and dozens injured included people from Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador, Colombia and Ecuador who were seeking entry to the United States.

The tragedy provoked sorrow and outrage from Catholic leaders and laity working on migration matters in the United States, Mexico and across Central America, along with calls for a rethinking of immigration policy that criminalizes migrants streaming through Mexico toward the U.S..

“The pain and suffering from abandoning their homes is already too much, and we cannot allow their transit through Mexico to become an ordeal for those who leave their family and country in search of a better life,” said a March 28 statement from the Mexican bishops’ conference.

“As the Church, we will always remain at the side of those who suffer most, of the excluded, of the poor and the neediest persons.”

While the fire was the deadliest migrant tragedy in years, it follows other migrant deaths. Earlier this month, two migrants suffocated to death aboard a freight train in Texas while 15 suffered injuries. In February 2023, 17 migrants from Venezuela, Colombia and Central America died in a bus crush in Mexico’s Puebla state.

From the Archive Module

Pope Francis prays for migrants killed in tragic fire near USMexico border 8523

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