The ex-convict filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Constitutional Court, claiming a relationship with a Tica and two minor children born in the country, to avoid deportation and remain in the country illegally. Photo courtesy MSP.

Q COSTA RICA – The mere existence of a link, whether by marriage or cohabitation with a Costa Rican, does not guarantee a foreigner the right to remain legally in the country.

That is the decision by the Constitutional Court or Sala IV in rejecting a writ of habeas corpus filed by a foreigner who wanted to prevent his expulsion from Costa Rica.

The man is identified as a Peruvian national who has already being convicted of two crimes (robbery) and indicted for other crimes and is in the country illegally.

Related: Immigration Expels Foreigner After Completing Sentence For Sexual Abuse of Minor

According to a statement by the Ministerio de Seguridad Publica (MSP) – Ministry of Security – the case dates back to June 22 last, when Juan Carlos Mejia asked the magistrates of the Sala IV to prevent his deportation, alleging that for the last 14 years he had a Costa Rican partner and two minor children born in the country.

However, the Court reiterated that it cannot recognize a foreigner the right to remain in the country illegally, ignoring the legal provisions of public order. For that reason, Mejia will be expelled next month.

In October 2010, Mejia was sentenced to eight years in prison, convicted of two counts of aggravated robbery. In 2009 he was investigated for aggravated theft, in 2008 for attempted robbery. In 2009 he also had a traffic violation.

At the Constitutional Court hearing members of the International Police (Interpol) pointed out that although Mejia had no international orders of capture, he had accumulated a criminal record of eight counts of aggravated robbery.

After being released from prison, the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería – immigration service – detained him and notified him that due to his irregular immigration status in the country, and given his criminal background, he would be deported to his country of origin.

The decision by immigration officials is in line with the directive by Costa Rica’s President Luis Guillermo Solis to expel undesirables from the country.

According to the magistrates, the detention of Mejia by immigration officials was justified, given he was in the country illegally.


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