The Chilean Congress extended, at the request of the new government of Gabriel Boric, by 15 more days of military presence in the north of the countrywhere they carry out control tasks against the irregular entry of migrants across the border with Bolivia.
This is the second extension of the State of Exception that allows militarization in the northern zone, since it was decreed by then President Sebastián Piñera (2018-2022) on February 16.
Piñera extended the measure 15 days later, but the second extension, ordered by the leftist Boric (2022-2026), had to be approved by Congress. The Chamber of Deputies and Senators voted separately on Wednesday in favor of this measure, which It will be valid until April 1.
“Hopefully in 15 more days we won’t have to request a (new) extension. But if we evaluate the difficult context that is the humanitarian crisis that affects the north, but that is a national problem, obviously we are going to have to consider an extension at that time,” said Izkia Siches, Minister of the Interior, after approval in Congress.
Thousands of migrants, mainly Venezuelans, cross on foot through inhospitable clandestine steps towards the Chilean provinces of Arica, Parinacota, Tamarugal and El Loa (border with Peru and Bolivia). Some are abandoned to their fate by coyotes.
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Many poor migrants settle down to live in precarious camps on beaches and squares in northern Chile, which has caused discomfort in part of the local population. In Iquique and other cities there have been protests against the massive presence of foreigners.
The measure made it possible to deploy 672 soldiers and increased by 100 the police to control these borders located in desert and mountainous areas.
A new migration law allows Chilean authorities “redirect” all migrants to the border who have entered the country irregularly.