AMERICA/CHILE - Catholic Institute for Migration writes to President Boric: "We must take the problem into our own hands"

Thursday, 31 March 2022 emigration   local churches  

Santiago (Agenzia Fides) - The Chilean Catholic Institute of Migration, (Istituto Nacional Catolico di Migracion, INCAMI), has made known its concern for the migratory crisis that is being experienced in Chile and which seriously affects the people arriving in the country as well as the host communities, in a letter sent to the new President of the Republic, Gabriel Boric. The letter, which bears the signature of INCAMI President, Bishop Moisés Atisha of Arica, emphasizes: "As an organization specialized in human mobility and migration, collaborating with many other institutions in this field, for several years we have looked at the difficulties that migrants who come to our country in search of a better future continue to face. The fact that many enter illegally does not make them any less valuable" while Bishop Atisha laments that the reasons leading to such a situation and led to an irregular entry are not mentioned when it comes to migrants. INCAMI welcomes the new migration regulations (Law 21.325/2021) but notes a lack of clarity in the implementation and therefore calls for a transparent attitude towards migrants in Chile. Lack of information and delays in the procedures for regularizing migration status are noted, exacerbated by the lack of face-to-face contacts following the pandemic. It is often the case that undocumented migrants, who do not move freely, do not sign contracts, do not open accounts, do not have proof of their identity, etc., and do not have access to constitutionally guaranteed rights such as work, health, education and housing . "We are also aware that Chile does not have the capacity to receive all these people," the letter reads, emphasizing that "the solution does not lie in expulsion, at least not generally for all those who entered the country illegally and who have a family in the country, because many will not be able to return and for many others this would mean exposing them to the dangers from which they fled". INCAMI is therefore calling on President Boric to intervene "so that we as a country can take this problem into our own hands". "We must act with empathy," the institute stresses, "and give these people the opportunity to enter the labor market and not be a burden to have an ID card to make a greater contribution to society". In doing so, one should not only concentrate on the north of Chile, but one must coordinate the work with other regions that accept migrant families.
"Temporary visas" are needed to prevent these people from having to live on the streets. Another call for the President is to launch a new "Advisory Body on Migration" or failing that, "create a forum that will allow organizations like ours to contribute to the debate and together build a fairer country for all". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 31/3/2022)