Peru, Chile confer how to facilitate safe passage for migrants

Venezuelan Rosmary Morales, stranded for five days under the scorching desert sun beside a highway, gazed helplessly at a wall of police officers blocking her entry into Peru on Friday.

The 45-year-old is waiting alongside hundreds of others who have set up a makeshift refugee camp near the border, which they cannot pass through due to lack of papers. “There’s not even an awning,” Morales said, adding that she felt like she was being treated “like a dog.”

Morales is among Venezuelans, Colombians and Haitians stranded at the Chile-Peruvian border for two weeks, eager to return home as the cost of living skyrockets and lawmakers in both countries propose penalties for undocumented migration.

Meanwhile, political leaders are discussing how to ease their transit through Peru at a time when migrants are increasingly being blamed for rising crime on both sides of the border.

Chile said on Friday it would start registering all undocumented migrants wanting to leave the country, and Peru began allowing some of them through its border offices.

Morales says that while she’s grateful Chile took her in when she left Venezuela, she’s now ready to return to her home country because the cost of living has risen, jobs have become scarce and she’s finding it difficult without the right ones documents to survive. what she says was impossible to get.

“We can’t make ends meet,” Morales said.

Now she and others must brave the elements, hot during the day and cold at night, in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest on Earth.

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“A lot of mothers are there, with kids, with the flu, fever, constant vomiting, dehydrated, unable to eat a good lunch, unable to bathe,” Morales said.

Acting Chilean Interior Minister Manuel Monsalve said on Friday the government will set up registration offices in the border region to register undocumented migrants who want to leave the country so that “their fingerprint, face and name can be recorded”.

Monsalve said Chile wants to let the migrants “return to their country” but also noted that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure “people who have committed crimes do not leave Chile”.

The President of Chile’s Lower House of Congress Vlado Mirosevic on Thursday proposed creating a “humanitarian corridor” to allow migrants to return home, without explaining details of such a corridor.

Peruvian Interior Minister Vicente Romero told local radio RPP on Friday that “at the Foreign Ministry level we are working with Chile, Ecuador and also with Venezuela” to find a way for migrants to cross the borders without problems.

“The most important thing is to offer the necessary security to all foreigners who want to voluntarily return to their country,” Romero said.

Romero, who has been in the Peruvian border region with Chile since Thursday evening, added he had met with local authorities to consider opening “temporary shelters” for people awaiting departure.

Migrants have set up improvised tents with blankets and braved the elements without access to running water and other basic services. Others have found help at the nearby Chacalluta Chilean border complex.

“We want to go back to our country Venezuela. We have achieved what we came here to do in Chile,” said Omar Domínguez, 47, at the border. “We don’t want to stay in Peru.”

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According to official figures from the Chilean Prosecutor’s Office, about 10,000 undocumented immigrants have entered Chile this year and another 1,194 have applied to leave the country.

The crisis along the border comes at a time when officials in Chile are stepping up checks on undocumented migrants. Earlier this month, Chilean prosecutors asked prosecutors to request preventive detention for anyone caught committing a crime who could not prove their identity.

In both Peru and Chile, lawmakers are trying to tighten laws against undocumented migrants.

A measure to be debated in Chile’s lower house of congress would criminalize undocumented immigration and propose prison terms of up to 18 months for anyone caught entering Chile unofficially.

In Peru, a Somos Perú MP on Thursday proposed legislation that would jail migrants who enter the country illegally for up to 10 years. A lawmaker from the far-right Renovación Popular said Peru’s border guards should have legal protections so they can “shoot” migrants if necessary.

Peruvian President Dina Boluarte attributed “criminal acts” to migrants earlier this week. —– Associated Press journalists Franklin Briceño in Lima, Peru and Eva Vergara in Santiago, Chile contributed to this report.

(Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from a syndicated feed; only the image and caption may have been reworked from


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