The government of President Gabriel Boric began on Tuesday the registration of more than 190,000 irregular immigrants within the framework of a new migration policy that also expedites the expulsion of those who do not participate in the process.
In recent years, Chile has experienced uncontrolled immigration of thousands of foreigners who entered the country mainly through its porous steps with Peru and Boliviawhich was slowed down by the deployment of hundreds of soldiers on the border at the end of February.
Among the attractions for immigrants to register is that without local documents they cannot work. In addition, if they are controlled by the police and do not have an identity card, they can be detained for several days until their identity is established.
Registration is done through a website of the Migration Service where an appointment is made to register.
The Undersecretary of the Interior, Manuel Monsalve, pointed out that the registration is not synonymous with the regularization of foreigners who entered irregularly, but that it is a registration process that “improves the security conditions of the country.”
He added that the government has not yet decided on a regularization process, which will be done after the registration is completed on October 6, and that it will be prepared based on two “specific and restricted” criteria: that the immigrant has a labor relationship formal relationship with Chile and, eventually, family ties in the country.
Monsalve, who witnessed the beginning of the registration in a civil police office, declared that the registration “is a security action in order to be able to have the identity of those people who are in the national territory.”
Emanuel Palmar, a 22-year-old Venezuelan who was one of the first to register, told Associated Press that “it is a procedure that helps us a lot” and, although it is not regularization, it is “an immigration control that is needed” in reference to the fact that immigrants need local documents to work.
More than 193,000 people who entered the country before May 30 registered to register. The process – which will be carried out in more than 70 civil police headquarters and in a dozen mobile offices – will be applied to those over 18 years of age and will consist of registering the name, fingerprints, photograph and background.
Monsalve warned that those who do not want to register, and whose background is unknown, place “the security of the country at risk and with respect to that person we will prioritize immigration control and expulsion.”
According to various surveys, irregular immigration is one of the main concerns of Chileans.
The undersecretary added that the military control on the border north with Peru and Bolivia through which almost all the immigrants who, according to the authorities, are mostly Venezuelans enter. According to official figures, Chile has a foreign resident population of close to 1.4 million people.
Monsalve announced that a bill has already been sent to Congress for processing that includes new grounds for prohibiting entry into the country, including having convictions for domestic violence in the country of origin, and others for expulsion, among which are committing more of three offenses in a period of two years or the commission of crimes in the last five years.