It’s not just the fire: Citizens and Organized Civil Society of the North and Central America Region Demand an End to the Current Migration Policy

Andres Manuel López Obrador President of Mexico
Joe BidenPresident of the United States
April 25, 2023

Organizations, communities, and leaders from the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, with deep pain and dismay over the death of 39 migrants, mostly Indigenous and people of color, join the collective call to  demand the closure of all migrant detention centers and equivalent facilities in Mexico. We also call for radical change from the roots in immigration policy that is grounded in the framework of human rights, not the current model focused on containment and detention of peoples in movement who are exercising their rights to human mobility.

We see with concern how the governments of Mexico and the United States rush to disclaim all responsibility and blame the migrant population for the tragedy, when it is clear that the policies of both governments are responsible for the migratory context that we are witnessing today throughout the central and northern region of the continent.

Since before the “Remain  in Mexico“ policy many civil society organizations and defenders of human rights have pointed to the dangerous conditions of these temporary shelters and migratory stations

So much so that  in the last session of the Advisory Council for Migration Policy of the Ministry of the Interior, carried out days before the deadly fire, representatives of the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights, the Citizen Council of the National Institute of Migration and the Center for Attention to the Indigenous Migrant Family, raised their voices and denounced the conditions of the detention centers. Meanwhile the National Institute of Migration presented a report highlighting progress in the process of “humanization” of these places.

Migrant rights defenders also denounce the new online asylum application system to the United States, CBP One. It is being used as another pretext to return people who already have an appointment to the Mexico-Guatemala border, perpetuating the strategy of contradiction and confusion during the regularization process that ends up violating the human rights of migrants.

What happened in the National Institute of Migration (INM) detention center in Ciudad Juárez is proof that the repeated complaints made over the years have been ignored and a consequence of the difficulties that the INM poses for the monitoring and observation of conditions and practices within these detention centers.

Days before the tragedy, organizations in Ciudad Juárez denounced that personnel from the National Migration Institute were detaining and sending migrants to immigration stations, including people with stay and transit permits.

It’s not just the fire. It is not only the Ciudad Juárez detention center.

It is the migration policy of Mexico and the United States. It is the policy of both governments towards a population that is forced to leave their homes and communities due to the adverse conditions caused by governments, environmental models and failed systems of justice.

We call on all organizations, communities and citizens, to join us on April 7th to express our rejection of the immigration policy of Mexico and the United States and to demand:

  • Respect for the rights of victims and their families, as well as access to truth and justice
  • Reparations for the victims and guarantees of non-repetition.
  • Immediate stop to the practices of detention and deportation of migrants and asylum seekers
  • Establishment of a working group with the participation of citizens, civil society, human rights defenders, academia and migrants in order to redesign regional migration policy.

The only way to honor the victims of this tragedy is with a full transformation of these deadly policies.

Jointly and Severally,

Coordinadora Institucional de Promoción por los Derechos de la Niñez CIPRODENI

Organización Fraternal Negra de Honduras

México negro AC
Casa Tochan
Cuerpo académico Procesos Transnacionales y Migración BUAP CA 230
Iniciativa Ciudadana región Puebla
Centro de estudios Afromexicanos Tembembe y Red de mujeres afrodescendientes CDMX
Hospitalidad y Solidaridad A.C.
Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla
Americas Program AMERICAS:ORG
Desaparecidos justicia a c Querétaro
LV Acompañamiento y Arte por los Derechos de las Mujeres, A.C. (Las Vanders)
Centro de Estudios Ecuménicos AC
Instituto RIA
Periodista independiente
Mano Amiga de la Costa Chica
Centro Regional de Defensa de Derechos Humanos Jose Maria Morelos y Pavón
LV Acompañamiento y Arte por los Derechos de las Mujeres A.C. (Las Vanders)
Centro de Atención al Migrante Exodus
Red de Juventudes Afrodescendientes de America Latina y El Caribe
Justicia Racial

Grupo de investigación y Editorial Kavilando / Red InterUniversitaria por la Paz.
Centro de Atencón al Migrante Exodus

Global Exchange
Friends of Latin America
International Tribunal of Conscience of Peoples in Movement/Tribunal Internacional de Conciencia de los Pueblos en Movimiento
National Lawyers’ Guild- SF Bay Area chapter
Witness at the Border/Testigos en la Frontera
Enlace de Pueblos y Organizaciones Costeñas Autónomas
Hacer las Paces
LV Acompañamiento y Arte por los Derechos de las Mujeres, A.C. (Las Vanders)
Red de Pueblos Trasnacionales
North American Indigenous Center of the New York
Lila LGBTQ Inc.
La Resistencia
San Francisco Living Wage Coalition
Migrant and Minorities Alliance
Colectivo Huella Negra
Comunidad Afromexicana de Temixco, Morelos