Despite the criticism raised by human rights defenders, the Piñera administration continues its plan to deport 1,500 people by the end of the year.
On Thursday, President Sebastian Piñera’s administration deported 120 Venezuelan and Colombian migrants to their countries of origin.
This is the 7th mass deportation so far this year. Over 800 foreigners have been flown out of Chile for having an irregular migratory status or having committed crimes while in the country. Piñera plans to expel 1,500 people by the end of the year.
International organizations have denounced migrants’ rights violations during the deportations. For instance, authorities have enacted on-the-spot expulsions on weekends when courts of appeals are closed and have negated phone access or the presence of a lawyer during the process.
"Some organizations are trying to stop these deportations, but the Chilean State and the Interior Ministry are abiding by the law. Foreigners that commit felonies or enter irregularly will be deported" the National Migration Service Director Alvaro Bellolio said.
In April, the Piñera administration enacted a new law that only allows migrants to formalize their legal statuses if they entered through an authorized point before March 18, 2020. Any migrant that entered irregularly had 180 days to leave the country. This policy means that any asylum seeker or refugee will first need to obtain a travel visa in their country of origin.
Migration policy has become a key issue in the 2021 presidential campaign in which Gabriel Boric (Approve Dignity), Yasna Provoste (New Social Pact), Eduardo Artes (Patriotic Union), Sebastian Sichel (We Can Do More Chile) and Marco Ominami (Progressive Party), Franco Parisi (Peoples' Party), and Jose Kast (Republican Party) are taking part.
The candidates' opinions on migration differ markedly from each other on issues such as the severity of border control measures and the implementation of regional cooperation projects to prevent migrants from leaving their countries.