Francisco Garduño Yáñez, commissioner of Mexico's National Institute of Migration, center, toured the Zaragoza international bridge in Juárez on Tuesday. (Courtesy National Institute of Migration)
By Blanca Carmona / La Verdad

Ciudad Juárez – The commissioner of Mexico’s National Institute of Migration, Francisco Garduño Yáñez, on Tuesday appeared in public in his official capacity for the first time since March when 40 migrants died in a detention center fire for which he faces criminal charges.

Garduño, Mexico’s top immigration official, was at the Zaragoza international bridge in Juárez to announce that a new detention center will open there to replace the one where the fire occurred. The detention area at the institute’s headquarters, which sits at the foot of the Stanton Street international bridge, was permanently closed after the fire. 

The new space will be used as a temporary detention site, and will have capacity for 80 people, Garduño said. Migrants will be detained there for a period of no more than 36 hours while their immigration situation is reviewed. The facility will be supervised by the National Human Rights Commission.

There is no opening date for the center, he said.

Garduño faces criminal charges related to dereliction of duty in the deadly March 27 migrant detention center fire in Juárez. He remains free and on the job while his case is heard.  

Garduño said that after the fire, he ordered the closure of 33 migrant detention sites in the country, which together had a capacity for 1,300 people.

During the tour of the bridge on Tuesday, Garduño said Mexico has been receiving between 3,400 and 3,600 migrants daily who were deported from the United States through different crossings along the border under Title 8 after Title 42 expired. 

The public health policy that allowed the U.S. to quickly expel migrants without providing them an opportunity to request asylum, Title 42 ended on May 11 when the COVID-19 public health emergency expired.

The set of U.S. immigration laws in the U.S. Code, Title 8 allows for the expedited removal of migrants who are deemed inadmissible, and carries steep consequences, such as a five-year ban on reentry and criminal prosecution for repeated attempts to enter unlawfully.

El Paso Matters assistant editor/reporter Cindy Ramirez contributed to this report.

This story was produced as part of the Puente News Collaborative, a binational partnership of news organizations in Ciudad Juárez and El Paso.