Overflowing Toilets, Bedbugs and High Heat: Inside Mexico’s Migrant Detention Centers Express News
The National Migration Institute, which oversees the migrant detention system, had already been struggling in the face of Mr. López Obrador’s effort to bring down the cost of government. As part of this austerity program, the agency’s budget was cut by 23 percent this year.
Since the spring, reports of the deteriorating conditions have multiplied.
“There is concern about the violation of rights for people who will inevitably go to immigration stations,” the Citizens Council of the National Migration Institute, a group that advises the migration agency, said in a statement in mid-June. “Due to the increase in immigration containment, the stations become saturated, causing overcrowding and precarious conditions.”
Yet the situation has barely improved.
In an interview in his office, Edgar Corzo Sosa, rapporteur for migrant issues at the National Human Rights Commission, an autonomous government agency, said that in “a normal migration flow,” space in the system would be sufficient. But Mexico is experiencing what he called “an intense migration flow.”
Mr. Corzo picked up a document — the government’s daily population count for each of the detention centers — and began citing statistics. Some of the facilities were way over capacity.
In the northern border city of Reynosa, 210 migrants were crowded into a facility designed for 50, Mr. Corzo said. In a center in Palenque, there were 210, nearly double the capacity. Some 86 migrants were jammed into another center fit for 30.
During a recent visit to a center in the southern state of Chiapas, Mr. Corzo documented about 400 detainees in a space meant for no more than 80. Another Chiapas shelter, Siglo XXI in the city of Tapachula with a capacity of about 960, saw a daily average of more than 1,400 in recent months, at times reaching about 2,000, according to government statistics from the first six months of the year.