Mexico watchdog says migrants overcrowded, no masks or medicine


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s human rights commission (CNDH) has accused migration authorities of keeping nearly 90 people in overcrowded facilities, without providing masks to protect them against COVID-19 or medicines for epilepsy and diabetes.

The CNDH said 88 migrants are being kept under leaky roofs at a detention center designed to house only 30 people, run by the National Migration Institute (INM) in the northern city of Saltillo in Coahuila state. It also said worms had been spotted in the food.

INM declined to comment on conditions at the site.

“The foreigners housed at the migration facility said they are not provided with medicine when they get sick, the food they are offered is scarce, of poor quality and on some occasions they notice the presence of hair and/or worms,” CNDH said in a statement on Monday evening.

“The people housed there don’t have the means to prevent and avoid COVID-19 infections,” it added.

Some migrants told the CNDH they have epilepsy and diabetes and had not received their medications or corresponding medical treatment, the statement added.

The CNDH, a government watchdog agency, said it has asked INM to improve conditions and not house more people than its intended capacity.

At the current pace, total border arrests made by U.S. authorities of migrants at the border with Mexico for the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, is set to be the highest since 2000, when nearly 1.7 million migrants were apprehended by U.S. authorities.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by David Gregorio)

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