EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – One of the survivors of last week’s fatal fire at a Juarez migrant detention center has been released from an El Paso hospital, his family told Border Report.
Eduardo de Jesus Carballo Lopez, a citizen of Venezuela, was brought over from Juarez last Saturday with injuries related to smoke inhalation. He is one of the 28 men who survived the March 27 conflagration that so far has claimed the lives of 40 male migrants who were locked at the National Migration Institute building on the Mexican side of the Stanton Street Bridge.
“He is much better. He is stable. Today he was released, just now,” Carballo’s wife, Viangly, told Border Report. “We are going to see about his humanitarian parole process and then we will be on our way.”
Viangly said her husband still has difficulty speaking, so he has not relayed to her many details of what it was like to be inside the burning building or what really happened prior to the fire. The president of Mexico has said one of the detainees lit a mattress on fire in protest over rumors the migrants would be deported from Mexico.
Viangly, however, said she was grateful with the El Paso nonprofits providing assistance to the family and with the care he received at Las Palmas hospital. “Excellent. Just excellent. The care he received here in El Paso was excellent,” Viangly said.
The wife said she has been sleeping at a hotel since receiving permission to come visit her husband at the El Paso hospital. The Venezuelans were in Juarez awaiting a chance to apply for asylum in the United States. Though Venezuelan nationals are now required to apply remotely through the CBP One app, Department of Homeland Security rules provide exceptions for extreme medical emergencies.
The family on Tuesday shared some cell phone videos taken inside the hospital which show Carballo looking at a cellphone, having breakfast and exiting Las Palmas on a wheelchair.
Carballo is so far the only known survivor of the fire that has received treatment in the United States. The Mexican government has taken charge of the rest of the survivors, with 23 still receiving care at medical institutions and five, including Carballo, now discharged.
Juarez officials have described some of the migrants’ injuries as grievous. Some have received catheters to help them breathe after sustaining lung damage, others have suffered finger amputations and others experienced kidney issues.
Five guards and INM officials have been arrested on charges of injuries leading to death after a leaked security video shows them leaving an area that quickly fills with smoke as migrants remained locked in a cell.
El Paso nonprofits like Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and the Hope Border Institute have been trying to assist the victims and their families.
“Through our Border Refugee Assistance Fund, we are working in close coordination with our partners, including JRS-MX, DHIA and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, to ensure the survivors of the recent fire in Ciudad Juarez have access to safe shelter, medical and psychological care and essential legal services,” said Mayte Elizalde, spokeswoman for the Hope Border Institute.