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LATIN AMERICA
More restrictions to intraregional migration
Latinamerica Press
2/27/2015
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Migration continues increasing but with less rights and in worse conditions.

Inés Agresott is Colombian, a black woman from the Caribbean region. She arrived in Peru in 2000, fell in love with a Peruvian citizen whom she married, had a daughter and then divorced. In 2008 she married again with another Peruvian and established herself with her family in Lima. In July 2014, as she did every year, she went to the Migrations Office to renew her foreign resident’s card. However, this time she was told that they were keeping her resident’s card because she had not established “the continuity of her original marriage” and they requested that she return to Colombia and from there she could regularize her situation.

“To arrive at this conclusion, they ignored my 2008 marriage, the same that over five years the Migrations Office, first, and the National Superintendency of Migrations later, had recognized and validated. The height of absurdity and machismo is that they recognized the new marriage with a foreign woman from my first husband, the same with which, they said, I should continue being married to obtain the residency,” Agresott shared in a Feb. 24 article published in the Ideele Magazine.

Agresott’s case is one of innumerable abuses that foreigners have suffered in Peru when they visit the Migrations Office to renew their residency. In the last year, the office has become more restrictive in the requirements, without any legal basis.

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), although states recognize and ascribe to the international agreements on human rights, including migration, these same states regulate the entrance and presence of foreigners in their territories, with a tendency to emphasize security and selectivity and to strengthen border security, making it more difficult the requirements to enter and reside in their territories.

“Although the barriers to international migration have hardened in the principal extra-regional migration destinations, and at times, in some intraregional ones, this has not been an impediment for continuing migration.  Many people continue to migrate, but with fewer rights and in worse conditions, becoming a highly-vulnerable population,” states ECLAC in its recent report, “Trends and Patterns of Latin American and Caribbean Migration in 2010 and Challenges for a Regional Agenda” (only available in Spanish).

Migrants without rights
During the past decade the migratory flow in the region accelerated, growing at an annual average of 3.5 percent, according to ECLAC, but also the migratory restriction, xenophobia, discrimination and bad treatment of migrants increased as well.

Pablo Ceriani, member of the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, explained that prejudices against migrants persist in all societies in the region in which “a stereotype exists according to which there is good immigration — European and at the end of the 19th century — and a bad immigration that is contemporary and Latin American.”

Discrimination “for the face you carry” (physical aspect) is the most widespread. Those that suffer are mostly migrants with indigenous features and Afro-descendants due to the belief that they are arriving to take work away from local people, or that due to the color of their skin they are delinquents, terrorists or drugtraffickers.

“Paradoxically, the mechanisms of migratory control have been reinforced which is functional in the context of a crisis,” Ceriani pointed out in an interview with the Argentine agency Télam.

ECLAC calculates that of the 28.5 million Latin American and Caribbean people who live outside their country of origin, 4.8 million come from neighboring countries.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has pointed out a series of factors that have emerged as a result of the changes in migratory processes and the governmental authorities should consider. Some of these issues are the migration flows from the developed countries to South America; the relationship between climate change and migration; health care for migrants; the vulnerabilities and specific needs of child migrants; the link between domestic violence and migration; the migration of indigenous communities; the persistence of the traffic in persons and the smuggling of migrants; the impact of migration on domestic service, care networks and demographic phenomena such as aging; the social integration of migrants, and social and productive reinsertion of returning migrants. 
—Latinamerica Press.


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