Boric Announces Plan to Address Irregular Migration
Chile’s president, Gabriel Boric said this Wednesday that “protecting the border to ensure regular, safe and orderly migration” will be “a priority” of his Government.
The town of Colchane, two kilometers from the border with Bolivia, has a population of 1,680 inhabitants. According to official data, 21,553 people from Bolivia entered Chile in an irregular situation in 2022 through this step.
For this reason, Boric, along with announcing greater human and logistical resources for the control of that border, said that the inhabitants of Colchane “have had to experience the effects of the massive and irregular entry of people with greater intensity in recent years.”
“Most of them come to our country looking for opportunities that do not find their place of origin. (…) Unfortunately, some of them also come with the intention of committing crimes. (…) Those people who come to commit crimes are not welcome,” said Boric.
Desde Colchane como @GobiernodeChile estamos presentes y trabajando en un mejor futuro para Tarapacá y para todo Chile. pic.twitter.com/T3YIDCdSJ0
— Gabriel Boric Font (@GabrielBoric) March 16, 2023
In a statement, Boric implied that Bolivia is not doing enough to prevent irregular migration across the countries’ common border and ordered the Foreign Ministry to “resume talks” to try to solve the crisis.
The Cancilleria de Bolivia responded to the statement as follows:
“Good evening. In relation to the statements of the President of Chile, done today in the frontier town of Colchane, we feel this is an opportune time to express the following points:
First, regarding the statement that Bolivia is not carrying out the redirection of citizens from other countries, understanding this as an expulsion from Chilean territory, there is no agreement, or bilateral instrument that generates said obligation on behalf of Bolivia. The reinstatement procedure referred to by President Boric is a Chilean law that does not generate any type of international obligation.
Second, in relation to the issue of irregular immigration, Bolivia’s position has been and it is that these issues should be addressed with the authorities of the nationality of the migration of origin, avoiding the negative stigmatization of the migrant and any action that may violate human rights.
Third, the Plurinational Government of the State of Bolivia is always open to bilateral dialogue to address issues of common interest, even more so with neighboring countries. Thank you.” Bolivia’s Viceministro de Relaciones Exteriores, Freddy Mamani Machaca.
President Boric indicated, “I have mandated our new foreign minister to resume talks with our neighboring countries, especially with Bolivia. We have not had diplomatic relations with them since 1978. Today, the redirection of Venezuelan and Colombian citizens who enter the border is not taking place,” said the president.
“We have to solve it,” added Boric from the border town of Colchane, the epicenter of the unprecedented migration crisis that Chile is experiencing.
There, a reinforcement of security measures was announced to stop the irregular entry of migrants.
The north of Chile has been plunged into a strong migration crisis since 2021 after the massive arrival of people through unchecked crossings.
The harsh altiplano passes are the main irregular entry route into Chile, which continues to be one of the most attractive countries to migrate within Latin America.
“We have to work on different fronts: the internal front, to facilitate the expulsion of those who have committed crimes, but also intense diplomatic work, both with Bolivia and with Venezuela, so that they receive citizens who are deported,” Boric said.
Boric’s Statements from Colchane
The president is visiting Colchane for the first time as president and has toughened his discourse against irregular migration since he came to power a year ago.
He detailed that each deportation costs 2,700,000 Chilean pesos (more than 3,200 dollars).
The Minister of the Interior, Carolina Tohá, revealed this Wednesday that there are still 21,000 deportations pending and she also asked for changes to the law to expedite the processes.
? AHORA | Presidente Boric anuncia nuevo Plan Nacional de Complejos Fronterizos
? Señal en vivo: https://t.co/Esutw9sM8x #CNNTARDE pic.twitter.com/1ws3cMVJ1G
— CNN Chile (@CNNChile) March 15, 2023
“Today, to carry out an effective deportation, there is a 48-hour window from when it is decreed until it is executed. If it is not executed within 48 hours, the expulsion decree loses its validity and the person is released,” she pointed out.
In Chile, there are 1.4 million migrants, which is equivalent to more than 7% of the population, with Venezuelans being the most numerous.
Irregular Camps on the Rise
Irregular camps increased 33.1% in 2 years in Chile: Rental cost is the main cause, reports Bio Bio Chile. Between 2022 and 2023, a total of 113,887 households were established in 1,290 camps throughout the country. Of this, 39,567 correspond to immigrant families. This Tuesday the TECHO-Chile organization delivered the National Registry of Camps 2022-2023, revealing a new rise in families living in these irregular settlements.
According to the report, a total of 113,887 homes were established in 1,290 camps throughout the country.
Due to the above, there was a 39.5% increase in households in these conditions compared to 2020-2021. Also, a 33.1% increase in camps compared to the same period.
According to the measurement, of all the camps in the country, 45.7% were formed between 2010 and 2020 and 14.6% between 2020 and today.
Additionally, the study shows that the camps are currently larger, reaching an average of 88.3 households in each one.
It should be noted that the northern part of the country concentrates the largest camps. For its part, the center-south stands out for having the smallest settlements, based on the number of households.
Access to basic services
Regarding access to basic services, 5.9% of the camps have formal access to drinking water (with their own meter). Concerning the most common ways of doing it, 44% of the camps obtain drinking water through “punctures” to the public network and 30.5% through a cistern truck, this method being more common in the north of the country.
In terms of electricity, 17.2% of the camps have, in most of the houses, their own meter. 63.1% of the camps are “hung” to the public network, being the most common way to access this service. Regarding the sanitation service, 40% of the camps have a “formal” solution, which in this case includes formal connection to the public network (sewerage in 5.7%) and connection through a septic tank (34, 3%).
Informally, 32.9% of the cases access this service through a latrine over a cesspool. Cost of rents is the main cause of irregular camps.
In respect to the reasons why families came to the camps, TECHO Chile’s National Camp Registry shows that in over 70% of the camps, more than half of the families were affected by the high cost of the rents (74.8%), the need for independence (73.6%) and low income (72.5%).
Relating to the increase in families, in percentage terms, the Aysén region followed by Arica and Parinacota are the ones that show the greatest variation, with 353.8% and 301.8%, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Valparaíso region is where the number of families increased the most (more than 7 thousand), followed by Antofagasta, Atacama, Tarapacá, Arica and Parinacota, and Biobío.
The director of the organization’s Study Center, Pía Palacios, asserted that “the results presented represent a great challenge for public policies on housing and urban matters.”
“The increase in households in camps is one more form of housing exclusion that exists in the country given the increase in the cost of housing,” she said.
This was also indicated by the organization’s chaplain, Héctor Guarda, who emphasized that “it is urgent to implement a permanent public policy that addresses not only the housing shortage, but also the economic, political, and social causes.”
Venezuela demands that Chile respect the human rights of migrants in cases of deportation.
In Chile, there are 1.4 million migrants, which is equivalent to more than 7% of the population, with Venezuelans being the most numerous, followed by Peruvians, Haitians and Colombians.
The Government of Venezuela demanded this Wednesday that Chile “respect the human rights” of Venezuelan migrants.
El Gobierno de Venezuela aún no ha recibido solicitud de trabajo coordinado con Gobierno de Chile respecto a supuestas deportaciones de venezolanos. La coordinación en esta materia ha sido un clamor nuestro, así como la exigencia de respeto a los DDHH de nuestros compatriotas https://t.co/cDYnC8Aq7B
— Yvan Gil (@yvangil) March 15, 2023
Through Twitter, the foreign minister indicated that Nicolás Maduro “has not received a request for coordinated work with the Government of Chile regarding alleged deportations,” said the foreign minister.
From the border town of Colchane, the epicenter of the unprecedented migration crisis that Chile is experiencing, Boric said that “intense diplomatic work must be done, both with Bolivia and with Venezuela, so that they receive citizens who are deported.”
Dr. Soledad Quartucci | Founder
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