The death of at least 39 asylum seekers at a Mexican detention facility is outrageous and a direct result of both countries’ ineffective immigration policies.
Mexico has a lot of explaining to do about the fire that killed migrants seeking refuge in the United States – but so does President Joe Biden, considering he has practically shut the border to these people fleeing persecution and other calamities.
“The deadly fire in Juárez should never have happened. Title 42 and other Trump-era holdovers are forcing migrants into dangerous, overcrowded conditions in Mexico,” Rep. Joaquín Castro, a Texas Democrat, tweeted. “The Biden admin needs to withdraw its asylum ban and work w/Mexico to protect migrants on both sides of the border.”
Don’t bet on it.
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Biden, Mexican president will shrug off this tragedy
Biden and Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador lament the deaths but will quickly shrug off the tragedy as collateral damage in their fight to maintain power.
Because that’s what they do best: Cater to their political base no matter the cost.
In this case, the lives of at least 39 migrants – reportedly mostly Central and South American migrants who had made the trek through Mexico’s hostile territory to reach the U.S. border.
Instead of getting the chance to ask for asylum, they found a horrific death at a crowded federal detention facility in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, just across from El Paso, Texas.
A fire broke out in the facility where the migrants reportedly were held awaiting deportation as part of Mexico’s deal with the United States.
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Did guards walk away from screaming migrant detainees?
López Obrador said the migrants had set mattresses on fire to protest the deportation. But what happened next is inexcusable – if not criminal.
Surveillance video appears to show two guardsmen walking away from the screaming detainees as flames and smoke enveloped everything.
Later, at least 38 bodies were recovered.
“They never imagined that this would cause this terrible misfortune,” López Obrador told reporters.
Misfortune? This is a tragedy directly caused because of Biden’s immigration policies and the Mexican president doing his bidding.
Biden – who, by the way, promised humane immigration reform – has turned out to be a border hawk. He kept Title 42, a Trump-era health-related rule to expel migrants without due process.
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In January, the White House announced a deal with Mexico to send back 30,000 migrants per month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela if they crossed into the United States illegally.
Throngs of asylum seekers have been congregating in Ciudad Juarez, many of whom tried earlier this month to cross the international bridge into El Paso.
It’s unclear whether those who died at the detention center had tried to cross.
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Tensions between the migrants and Mexican authorities had been boiling for weeks, per news reports. It’s an unsustainable situation, and Monday’s deadly fire proves it.
It’s unclear what AMLO, as the Mexican president is known, is getting in exchange for doing the United States' job of deporting migrants and keeping them away from U.S. soil.
Whatever it is, Biden has found an ally in the deportation business who’s willing to let asylum seekers die as collateral damage in their war against unwelcome migrants.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Looking for answers in US-Mexico border fire? Blame immigration policy