The Government of Chile has deported on a plane to Caracas a total of 56 Venezuelan citizens who were allegedly involved in trafficking of minors, drugs, robberies or simply entered the country irregularly, it was reported.
It was the third such process this year since the administration of President Sebastián Piñera decided to tighten its policies on irregular immigration in February.
The 56 Venezuelans boarded a Sky Airlines aircraft Sunday in Santiago that, after a stopover in northern Iquique, would go directly to Caracas.
Interior Minister Rogelio Delgado, stated at the Santiago airport that among the deportees there were people linked to the trafficking of minors, drug trafficking, there are people convicted of robbery with violence and also those who entered Chile clandestinely.”
Delgado insisted “the process is carried out following every detail of current legislation, international agreements, and is also done, in this case, following the authorities of Venezuela, following the protocols, following the indications and recommendations. from the ONU.
The fact that the operation was carried out during a weekend - the previous one was also carried out on a Sunday, April 25 - has to do with logistical, flight, health and different kinds of provisions, Delgado explained.
The Santiago Appeals Court, in an emergency session, forced the government to stop the expulsion of a Venezuelan citizen for not having granted her a reasonable period of time to prepare her defence and respond adequately, nor the opportunity to produce and refute the evidence.
The operation was questioned by the Catholic bishops of the northern Antofagasta region and by the Jesuit Migrant Service (SJM).
We have observed with great regret the situations of detention and deportation suffered by migrants, mainly of Venezuelan nationality, the bishops said.
The prelates demanded “respect for the rule of law”, especially “when it comes to measures that affect people's freedom of movement” and when “the conditions to leave Chile for other destinations continue to be extremely difficult and expensive due to the pandemic.”
Since this policy began in Chile, 249 foreigners have already been deported
In turn, the SJM said that it saw with indignation how families and young children enter to say goodbye to migrants who will be expelled collectively.
Meanwhile, the National Institute of Human Rights filed four appeals in favour of Venezuelan immigrants, invoking the right to family reunification.
Chile deported 138 immigrants on February 11 - most of the Venezuelans and Colombians, but also Bolivians and Peruvians - and on April 25, 55 Venezuelans, all of whom were accused of having entered illegally and of other more serious crimes.
On those two occasions, the deported boarded the planes in Iquique - some 2,400 kilometres north of Santiago - dressed in white overalls, hoods and masks, handcuffed and each accompanied by a policeman.
This is the first of the flights contracted by the Undersecretary of the Interior and the Directorate of Immigration and Migration to materialize expulsions, whether judicial or administrative,” said then the Undersecretary of the Interior, Juan Francisco Galli.
The official said that with this new expulsion process, the government of President Sebastián Piñera intended to deport some 1,500 foreigners this year, for which it leased 15 commercial aircraft that will carry out as many flights.
In addition, 1,365 foreigners were expelled last year, according to data from the Interior Ministry.