Deputies Approve Reforms to Improve Migrant Detention Centers
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Deputies Approve Reforms to Improve Migrant Detention Centers

Photo by:   Barbara Zandoval
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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Mon, 09/18/2023 - 16:07

The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) will oversee the conditions of migrant detention centers in Mexico, according to reforms approved by the Chamber of Deputies. The reforms are pending a review by the Senate. The reform comes after one of the deadliest migrant tragedies occurred this year in a center of the National Migration Institute (INM) in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, which highlighted the poor conditions of migrant shelters throughout the country.

With 433 votes in favor, the amendment to section XII of Article 6 of the Law of the National Human Rights Commission was approved, which establishes that the CNDH must carry out an annual diagnosis of migrant shelters. The proposal seeks for the CNDH to not only verify the state of the cells and centers, but also to guarantee that the material and human conditions are correct. After the diagnosis, the information gathered will be integrated into the CNDH's annual report. The reform has already been sent to the Senate.

The reform was promoted by MORENA Deputy Andrea Chávez Treviño. She argued that a reform was necessary because Mexico is a country of origin, transit and return of migrants, so it is essential to ensure that they are treated with dignity and that their lives are not put at risk at any time. Chávez recalled that the incident in Ciudad Juarez, where dozens of migrants died trapped in a fire, shows that migrants are very vulnerable. She stresses that it is the State's responsibility to prevent migrants from being mistreated and their human rights from being violated.

What Happened at the INM in Ciudad Juarez?

One of the deadliest migrant tragedies occurred after migrants set fire to mattresses in protest of their deportation. While the migrants were responsible for setting the fire, the authorities were accused of fleeing the scene, leaving dozens of migrants locked up. Of the migrants at the Ciudad Juarez Provisional Migratory Station at the time of the fire, 40 died and 28 were injured, according to the Interior Ministry and the INM. Mexican authorities have opened a homicide and property damage investigation, with two federal agents and five members of a private security company facing manslaughter charges for their negligence in failing to assist the migrants.
The accident brought to light the poor conditions in which authorities hold migrants in detention centers. A Mexican federal official told the Los Angeles Times that the migrants were protesting because 68 people were being held in a cell for a maximum of 50 people and were prohibited from drinking water. 

Photo by:   Barbara Zandoval

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