Shipments of drugs and firearms from Costa Rica and better immigration controls are part of the country’s crackdown on illegals.
This morning (Wednesday), immigration officials deported an American wanted in the United States, caught during a routine check at the Palmares festival last month.
The man, who is alleged to have robbed a bank in Florida, was placed on a commercial flight headed north, under guard by Costa Rican immigration.
Immigration officials confirm that two other business owners in different parts of the tourist area of the Nicoya Peninsula have been deported recently.
The two are termed as “perpetual tourits”, those persons who live in the country, never apply for formal residency or any other type of permit to maintain their status legal.
The crackdown is countrywide, with focus on areas like Guanacaste and the Central Pacific, two major areas preferred by foreigners – legal or illegal – to live in Costa Rica, and the greater San José area.
Although deportations for being a “perpetual tourist” is not common, the number of cases is increasing, such as that of Patricia Lynn Sultan, who owned a small tourist resort near Playa Coyote.
Some perpetual tourists believe that leaving the country every three months – North Americans and Europeans usually are given a 90 day tourist visa automatically – won’t be detected. The favourite perpetual tourist destination is Nicaragua. Some choose Panama.
A person deported from Costa Rica is banned from returning for ten years.
There are reports of increased checkpoints, particularly on the roads leading to and from Guanacaste beaches, Quepos/Manuel Antonio and Jacó in the Central Pacific.
A foreigner who cannot prove his or her legal status in Costa Rica to immigration officials will most likely be detained at the Hatillo (in San José) detention centre.
In the case of a tourist who overstayed their visa period will come under close scrutiny by the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería – the immigration service – and is subject to deportation.