This past Sunday, June 6, 2021, 56 immigrants were deported from Chile. This is one of many collective expulsions the government has carried out. Human rights and immigrant organizations object that these actions violate national policies and international agreements.
Fifty-six Venezuelan immigrants were expelled from Iquique, Chile on June 6, 2021; of those, 20 were deported because they had criminal records and the other 36 were deported because they had not legalized their immigrant status.
This is not the first time the government has issued collective expulsions: in April of this year, another 55 were also deported en masse. Immigrant organizations claim the expulsions violate both national policies and international agreements alike.
The new immigration law states that people who entered the country before March 8, 2020 can apply for an “extraordinary” legalization process for their situation, but there is a 180-day deadline to go to any consulate to request the necessary visa or permit and, for a variety of reasons, many miss the deadline.
Waleska Ureta, the national director of Jesuit Refugee Services Chile, told El Desconcierto that this is the fourth time the government has carried out these collective expulsions, and that immigrants are being deported before their cases are reviewed by the court. “If the flights are leaving on Sundays at five in the morning, these people will leave before even having the chance to revise their legal situations. Apparently, the government’s modus operandi is to have these expulsions during the weekend and, therefore, not provide an even playing field for immigrants.”
She also claimed that sanitary measures are also not being respected, as the proceedings are being held in close spaces with large groups.
In May of this year, the United Nations called upon the government to halt collective deportiations, asserting that Chile was not abiding by international human rights agreements. In its demand, The UN referred to the group deported in April of 2021 and said that immigrants had been detained with no right to communication or legal assistance.
UN immigrant human rights spokesperson Felipe González Morales said that “in the absence of individual evaluations of protection needs and irreparable damage risk for every immigrant before deportation, there is an increase in risk of possible Human Rights violations.” This is contrary to the UN’s Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
According to the Jesuit Refugees Services in Chile’s data, over the last few years, the number of expulsions has increased significantly. Between 2018 and 2020, 18,725 expulsion orders were issued, which represents 45 percent of the orders issued since 2010.
Javiera is from Santiago de Chile, she is studying journalism at Universidad de Chile, since 2017 and doing her internship at Chile Today.