Manhunt underway in Mexico after 1,300 migrants break out of detention center

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Manhunt underway in Mexico after 1,300 migrants break out of detention center

Some 1,300 inmates, mostly from Cuba, fled on foot after a massive detention center breakout. It was one of the largest escapes in Mexico’s history.

Some have turned themselves in but police are searching for some 600 others.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras has details.

Officials at Mexico’s National Immigration Institute say the massive escape of migrants happened at 8pm Thursday night in Chiapas, Mexico’s southern-most state which borders Guatemala.  The Siglo 21 Detention center is located in the border city of Tapachula.

Immigration officials say Cuban detainees instigated the escape of 1,300 people being held there. In recent weeks, Mexican news media have been reporting an increase in the numbers of Cuban migrants being detained in southern Mexican.

Many of the other detainees are Central Americans, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The Mexican newspaper Reforma reports that Haitian migrants are also among those who escaped.

Authorities are reporting that at least 700 of the escaped immigrants decided to return to the detention center they were fleeing. So far, the reason for their decision to return to the immigration detention center is unclear.

Another 600 of the immigrants remain free. Since last year, Mexico has seen an increase in large groups of immigrant asylum seekers making their way into Chiapas and the southern Mexican state of Tabasco.

In the past month, Mexico has detained and deported at least 15,000 migrants, following increasing pressure from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to curb the movement of people trying to make their way north.

Trump repeated his threats this week to close the U.S. border with Mexico if the officials don’t stop what Trump calls a new migrant caravan attempting to move toward the United States.