Mexico’s Top Immigration Official Reports Overcrowding At Facilities

Published: Thursday, August 8, 2019 - 2:41pm
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Migrants detained by the Mexican government are being held in sorely overcrowded facilities, as the country struggles to contain the flow of migrants hoping to reach the southwestern U.S. border by land, authorities said. 

Mexico’s immigrant detention facilities are crammed with almost 11,000 people, even though their capacity is just below 7,000, the country’s Immigration Commissioner Francisco Garduño said in a presentation at the Interior Ministry this week, the newspaper Reforma reported.

The official numbers validate reports from human rights organizations and media reports that migrants are being held in overflowing facilities. The reports have also documented facilities where people live in squalor, with intermittent access to food and under the regular abuse of government employees. 

“No. It’s not really a surprise,” said Claudia Leon, with Jesuit Refugee Services in southern Mexico, of the commissioner’s report. 

On Wednesday, two human rights organizations — the Group Against Migrant Detention and Torture, and the Southeastern Mexico Human Rights Monitoring Collective — reported the death of a man from Haiti while in custody at a facility in Tapachula. The man was being held at the Siglo XXI facility in the southern city of Tapachula and had not received medical attention despite asking for it repeatedly, the groups said in a statement. 

President Donald Trump has demanded Mexico reduce the number of migrants from Central America and elsewhere making it to the U.S. border, in exchange for not slapping tariffs on Mexican imports to the U.S.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration has deployed armed National Guard members to the country’s southern border to prevent migrants from traveling north.

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