Chile's government has decreed a State of Exception in the country's northern region to address the migration crisis, which has resulted in both an increase in crime and in acts of xenophobia, it was announced.
According to President Sebastián Piñera's Decree, the Armed Forces may be summoned to take action alongside local and federal police to control migration.
The presidential measure is in force Arica, Parinacota, Tamarugal and Loa, where 100 Carabineros (federal police) and 672 Armed Forces troops have been deployed for the protection of the borders and control illegal immigration.
Undocumented foreign migrants, mostly Venezuelans, who enter Chile from Bolivia have generated humanitarian problems as well as security, crime and public order problems. These people are usually taken advantage of by organized crime gangs for drug, arms and human trafficking in addition to the smuggling of goods and many other evils, according to sources from La Moneda Palace, which Piñera is due to leave in less than a month (March 11) when President-elect Gabriel Boric is sworn in.
Piñera's measure will be in force for 15 days and it will be up to Congress to grant a 15-day renewal.
Security forces have been supply with drones and other state-of-the-art gear, including helicopters and devices with night and thermal vision, to carry out their surveillance duties around the clock, it was reported.
Over 7% of Chile's population is made up of migrants (1.4 million), with Venezuelans topping the list, followed by Peruvians, Haitians and Colombians.
Piñera has maintained the migration crisis was a global and regional issue and underlined that in Latin America alone we are being affected by more than 6 million Venezuelans who have left that country due to the political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis.