VIDEO: Mexican Immigration Authorities Leave Migrants Trapped During Fire in Detention Center

Jailers ignoring migrant trapped in fire -2
Mexico’s National Migration Institute Video Screenshot

In the aftermath of a fire that killed at least 38 migrants inside an immigration detention center in Ciudad Juarez, a leaked surveillance video revealed that agents apparently left the migrants inside behind locked doors. Additionally, reports say the fire took place in a secure area where the migrants are not allowed to have lighters or matches.

The incident took place on Monday night at a detention center run by Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM). A group of migrants allegedly set fire to mattresses during a protest after being told they would be deported. Mexico’s government claimed that the fire spread killing 40 migrants and injuring 28 others.

In the aftermath, public officials attempted to minimize the damage and score political points by having the head of the INM visit the migrants at local hospitals and claiming that they would be footing the bill for medical and funeral expenses.

The case sparked even more outrage after journalists in Ciudad Juarez published a leaked video from the surveillance cameras inside the center revealing that INM agents and security guards had locked the migrants inside and left them to their fate as the flames spread.

In the aftermath of the video, Mexico’s top officials played a blame game as to who is ultimately responsible for the fatal fire. Mexico’s Foreign Relations Minister and presidential hopeful Marcelo Ebrard published a statement on social media claiming the individuals responsible for the case had been turned over to Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office. His staff did not return requests for comment as to whether the people under investigation were INM agents or migrants.

Breitbart Texas spoke with a high-ranking INM official not authorized to speak to the media. The official revealed a series of concerning revelations tied to the case. As Breitbart Texas reported, INM has a video monitoring center in Mexico City that is connected to cameras in all INM facilities. The official stated that individuals in the INM center should have sounded the alarm when the protests started so that the National Guard could be deployed to restore the peace. No warnings were sent out, the official reported.

“In the case of fires to the mattresses, agents are told to put them out immediately,” he said. “They have fire extinguishers available that they can use even from the outside. They didn’t do that.”

Another issue brought up by the INM official is that the fire began inside a secure detention area where lighters, matches, and tools that could be used as weapons are not allowed.

“They search them when they arrive,” the official explained. “What happens is that the agents themselves sell cigarettes, lighters, and other items to the migrants. They have their little store there.”

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at     

“Williams Cortez” from Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project contributed to this report.


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