The Government of Chile confirmed today that it has begun a process to control immigrants who did not sign up for the regularization process and, in some cases, may entail their expulsion from the country.
"Not everyone took advantage of the Government's invitation to regularize their situation," said Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick, confirming some press releases about police operations to locate illegal immigrants in some sectors of Santiago.
"Now what corresponds is to control those who did not sign up," he added and explained that in the cases of people with a criminal record, they will proceed to the expulsion.
Speaking to journalists during a public activity, Chadwick said that not having registered in the process of regularization "gives an indication that they are people who are irregular and must have some criminal record to have not come close to regularize their situation."
The process of regularization of immigrants ended on July 23 and 155,000 people enrolled in it, although previously it had been estimated that 300,000 would do so.
According to government data, at the end of 2017, 1,190,000 immigrants were counted in Chile, and of the 155,000 registered to date, 48,000 have managed to have legal residence in the country.
In this context, this week a first operation of the Investigative Police (PDI) was held to recognize immigrants who did not participate in the process, in sectors of Santiago that concentrate large numbers of foreigners.
On the occasion, 153 immigrants were checked, of which 46 were found to be irregular and against whom a process that could mean from the payment of fines until the expulsion from the country was opened.
"We have started a special process with the PDI to monitor those immigrants who are in the country.If they have a criminal record for serious crimes, the administrative expulsion process is initiated for not complying with the law," the minister explained.
He said that those who were sanctioned and do not have a resume with a criminal record, "can initiate a process to regularize their situation, because that option is always there."
The prefect Víctor Nakada, head of Immigration of the PDI, told the newspaper La Tercera that people illegally surprised are Peruvians, Venezuelans, Haitians, Ecuadorians and Colombians.
He added that one can distinguish between those who did not know about the process of regularization or did not trust it, others who had a criminal record in their countries and assumed that they would not be granted residence and, finally, those who seek to go unnoticed with such of committing crimes in Chile.
According to Nakada, the audit also extends to companies, in order to detect labor abuses, and in the operation there were infringements against three employers.
Immigrant support organizations, meanwhile, called not to generalize the cases of those who did not sign up. "A person who did not reach registration is not synonymous with expulsable delinquent," said the director of the Jesuit Migrant Service (SJM), José Tomás Vicuña.
He pointed out that the causes why a high percentage of immigrants was left out of the process and determine if they are related to the lack of effectiveness of communication channels, lack of preparation of public officials or cultural differences should be analyzed.