SANTIAGO – The government will deport immigrants that don’t legalize their stay as part of a regularization process which began on April 23 and will include in three stages.
During this year, the government is aiming to solve the migration problem, as the number of immigrants has surpassed one million. The internal affairs ministry has started a migratory regularization process, which will unfold in three stages, with the first one already underway. Immigrants fulfilling the requirements can remain in the country, while those who don’t will have to leave.
Fifty-nine Bolivian and Peruvian immigrants, who completed prison sentences due to crimes committed, were sent back to their countries. Foreign affairs undersecretary Rodrigo Ubilla explained that those who have served time in a Chilean prison must leave the country.
In the second phase, the focus is on people who haven’t committed any crime in the country, but don’t meet the requirements to get residence, and who have been asked to leave but appealed the decision with the help of organizations like the Migration Action Movement (MAM) which defend immigrants’ rights. About 400 people live in an irregular situation, and their deportation is being processed, but a registration process for immigrants to legalize their residence is still open until July 22.
According to the internal affairs ministry, 3,000 immigrants, who participated in the regularization process, have already received the permanent visa. President Piñera said, “It may seem to be contradictory, (but) it is just coherence that today we are providing these 3,000 visas and identity cards. So immigrants can fully integrate into our society. But at the same time, we are expelling those who have committed felonies, or are here irregularly, as they have not respected our law.”
In the last phase of the process, immigrants who haven’t registered in the regularization process until July 23 will be deported. “We assume that people who don’t register in the process probably have a criminal record. Those will be deported,” said Urbilla. He added, “there are no factual statistics that indicate that foreigners tend to commit more crimes than Chileans. But no one wants to have outsider criminals.”
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.