Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Pope prays for the victims of Mexican fire that killed 38 migrants


At least 38 migrants are dead in a Mexico detention center fireAt least 38 migrants are dead in a Mexico detention center fire  (AFP or licensors)

Pope prays for migrants killed in Mexican migrant camp blaze

Pope Francis asks for prayers for the victims of a fire in a migrant processing centre in Mexico.

By Linda Bordoni and James Blears

Pope Francis had thoughts and requests for prayers for the 38 people who died on Tuesday in a facility for migrants in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, close to the border with Texas.

“Let’s pray for the migrants who have perished in a tragic blaze in Ciudad Juarez, in Mexico,” said Pope Francis during his greetings to Spanish-speaking pilgrims at the weekly General Audience.

“May the Lord receive them in His Kingdom and bring consolation to their families,” he added asking those present to join him in prayer for them.

The fire

At least 38 people died in the fire that tore through the migrant processing centre near the Stanton-Lerdo Bridge, which links Mexico and the US.

It has emerged, fear of imminent deportation sparked a protest that resulted in several migrants setting mattresses ablaze in the centre, where sixty-eight men were held while their migration requests were being processed.

They were from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.

Mexico`s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says some of them started the blaze, setting mattresses alight, on learning they would be deported back to their homelands, but stressed: "They didn`t think that would cause this terrible tragedy."

Surveillance cameras show two guards running away, rather than opening cell doors, as choking smoke made the atmosphere ever more unbreathable. 

A broken migration system

Mexico deports more than one hundred thousand undocumented migrants annually, but for many others, it issues temporary visas which allow them to live and work in Mexico.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, US Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar, says it`s a stark reminder to governments concerning the importance of fixing a broken migration system.

But, it`s unlikely that even a tragedy of this magnitude. is going to slow or halt the exodus of people from the Central and southern parts of the Americas to North America, namely the United States of America. 

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