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Francisco Gardúño: Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office announces it is taking “criminal” action against the immigration chief over the Ciudad Juárez tragedy

Francisco Gardúño: Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office announces it is taking “criminal” action against the immigration chief over the Ciudad Juárez tragedy

The Public Prosecutor of the Republic (FGR) announced this Tuesday that he will proceed “criminally” against Francisco Gardúño, commissioner of the National Institute of Migration (INAMI), for the tragedy that left 40 migrants dead in the border city of Ciudad Juárez. . The agency said in a statement: “Francisco” and Antonio “N” are involved in alleged criminal behavior, by not complying with their obligations to monitor, protect and provide security for the people and facilities assigned to them, which reinforces the crimes committed against immigrants. As of now, Garduño remains in office. On the same day, Tuesday, he posted several tweets claiming his role in the tragedy.

The prosecutor’s office’s move is surprising, particularly because of the vagueness of the statement. The agency does not say what crimes it will file against Garduño, or whether it has obtained an arrest warrant or offer from a judge. It doesn’t even say if you applied for it. When asked about this, a spokesperson said that was all the information he had so far.

Garduño is walking the tightrope. The tragedy of Juarez, the fire that claimed the lives of 40 immigrants and left many injured, without anyone taking them out of the cell in which they were locked up, intensified the criticism that Enami and her director had received over the years. Since mid-2019, when he took office, Inami has abandoned all reformist intentions, as part of the election promises of the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and has dedicated his efforts to containing, persecuting and detaining immigrants. And so the institute responded to the threats that came from the other side of the border, with Donald Trump in the chair. Trump criticized the Mexican authorities’ indolence with immigrants, and threatened to impose tariffs on exports from the neighboring country. Garduño was responsible for reassuring him.

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Although the person responsible for Inami remains in office, his downfall seems certain, especially now with the public prosecutor’s office making an announcement. In recent weeks, Pastor Alejandro Solalende, who has run a migrant shelter for years in Oaxaca, has met at least twice with Lopez Obrador to discuss what happened. In several interviews Solalende has said that Inami will disappear and that Garduño will not continue in office. For now, López Obrador has not ruled on the matter.

FGR has also reported that it will take action against Inami’s representative in Chihuahua, retired sailor Salvador Gonzalez. A week and a half ago, a lawyer filed a complaint against him for allegedly ordering his subordinates not to open the cell where the migrants were kept during the fire. “Criminal proceedings have been taken against public servants Salvador ‘N’, Juan ‘N’, Cecilia ‘N’ and Eduardo ‘N’, who are directly related to the behavior that led to the murders and the injuries sustained by the victims of these crimes,” the statement reads, in A reference to Gonzales and other employees of the Institute.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office also referred to the private security company that also worked in the Immigration Department. “With respect to the private security company and Enami himself, the parties signed direct award contracts, ignoring their obligations to public bidding and incurring costs twice as much as are paid in the public sector for those same services,” the dependency notes.

FGR adds: “They also failed to comply with their obligations in the field of compulsory training, control and supervision; moreover, it was established that the company refrained from registering the vast majority of dependents in the Social Security System (IMSS) – the most widespread social security in Mexico – which it attempted done days after referring to the events.”

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As of a statement this afternoon, FGR had only formally charged five people in the case, three Inami officials who were present during the fire, an agent from the company, Camsa security, and the immigrant who started the fire. This new movement represented a leap in the investigation, as it stopped focusing exclusively on junior officials, referring to the higher echelons of the institute.

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