Chile's President Gabriel Boric has announced a new measure to deport irregular immigrants who have not participated in a voluntary biometric registration program. The initiative primarily targets Venezuelan nationals who have entered Chile irregularly in the past five years. The decision follows demands from the country's right-wing factions, which have threatened to impeach Interior and Security Minister Carolina Tohá if the deportation of 12,000 undocumented migrants is not achieved by the year's end.
Shift in Immigration Policies
This move signifies a shift towards stricter immigration policies in Chile. Approximately half of the 1.7 million recent foreign arrivals in Chile are from Venezuela. The biometric registration plan was introduced to help the government gather information about the identity of immigrants who entered the country without proper documentation.
Increased Security Budget
Amidst these changes, President Boric has also highlighted an increase in the security budget, which will allow the government to finance a greater number of migrant expulsions. The National Migration Service will be able to carry out up to 2,000 administrative and judicial expulsions of migrants in 2024.
This latest announcement from Boric comes less than a week after the opposition threatened Minister Tohá with impeachment proceedings if she failed to carry out the expulsion of 12,000 migrants before the end of the year. The situation has sparked controversy and debate, particularly in light of violent attacks against Venezuelan migrants in Chilean cities.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), at least 7.7 million Venezuelans have migrated from their country, with about 444,000 settling in Chile. The issue of deportations has been further complicated by the Venezuelan government's refusal to authorize the departure of flights carrying deported migrants from Chile.
The shift in Chile's immigration policies and the increased pressure on Minister Tohá underscore the ongoing tension and complexity of the immigration issue in the country.