SANTIAGO – For the 10th time, a flight took off yesterday from Santiago Airport, taking back migrants convicted of crimes to their home countries. Ahead of the flight, a human rights organization criticized the expulsion of certain migrants on this flight. The organization said some should not have been expelled because they have Chilean children.
Seven Venezuelans and 35 Colombians were put on the plane back to their home countries for breaking the law in Chile. Among them were migrants convicted for crimes such as homicide, armed robbery, and drug trafficking.
The expulsion follows new government regulations that address the large influx of migrants in the country, forcing those who commit crimes to leave.
Ahead of the flight, the National Institute for Human Rights in Chile appealed the decision to include migrants who had children born in Chile, but the Supreme Court rejected the appeal, stating that migrants who come to or stay in Chile illegally, can be expelled despite having Chilean children.
Subsecretary of Internal Affairs Rodrigo Ubilla was present at the 10th expulsion flight and emphasized that “it is important to tell all foreigners living in Chile that we have the doors open to those who want to regularize their situation. For those who break the law, the consequence is expulsion.”
Defending the expulsion of the parents of Chilean children, the Subsecretary said that “the situation was reviewed by the Supreme Court and they have decided that this is permitted by law.”
Expulsion Flights As Part Of Government Regulations
Chile is one of the countries in South America with the highest influx of migrants. In the last year, 746,645 migrants entered Chile according to the census; 23% were Venezuelan, the top country of origin, while Peru and Haiti were second and third place.
To regulate the influx, the government sharpened their migration laws. Migrants were given some time to regularize their visa, while those who break the law are slated for expulsion. So far, 10 expulsion flights have been carried out, mostly to Colombia and Venezuela.
In December, Chile shook the world by withdrawing from the Marrakech pact, just hours before UN countries would sign the non-binding agreement. Nonetheless, authorities argued the pact stimulates migration. In an interview with El Mercurio newspaper, Ubilla emphasized that “countries should determine their own entry requirements, as migration is no human right.”
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and made appearances on BBC World Services and ABC News during major events in Chile.