Mexico’s immigration centers are becoming increasingly squalid and overcrowded as authorities step up the detention of migrants headed for the United States، with inmates languishing for weeks amid medical neglect، according to detainees، lawyers and rights groups، according to Reuters.
Reuters spoke to more than a dozen recent detainees at the Siglo XXI detention center، the country’s largest. They described being held in the facility in Chiapas state on Mexico’s southern border for long periods without information about their cases.
The detainees reported severe overcrowding، sparse water and food، and limited healthcare.
Their accounts were supported by two lawyers representing 26 other inmates، as well as the migration ombudsman at Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission and reports from two migrant rights groups: Fray Matias de Cordova and the Human Rights Observation Mission for the Refugee and Humanitarian Crisis in Southeast Mexico، a collective of 24 aid groups.
Twelve of the detainees told Reuters they were held for at least three weeks in the center، meant to hold people for a maximum of 15 days until their cases are processed.
Mexico’s National Immigration Institute (INM)، which runs Siglo XXI، did not respond to repeated requests for comment on conditions at the center.
Asked about the extended detentions، an INM official، who asked not to be identified، said migrant cases were complex and needed to be analyzed on an individual basis.
Guards at the gates of the center declined to answer questions or to allow a Reuters reporter to speak with its director.