Sunday 19 September 2021

Costa Rica Suspends Deportation of Haitian Migrants Due To Devastations of Hurricane Matthew

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Since April, thousands Haitian migrants are putting down roots in the Costa Rican border as part of their pilgrimage to the United States in search of the American dream. They travel overland from South America, mainly from Brazil. | MAYELA LOPEZ
Since April, thousands Haitian migrants are putting down roots in the Costa Rican border as part of their pilgrimage to the United States in search of the American dream. They travel overland from South America, mainly from Brazil. | MAYELA LOPEZ

(QCOSTARICA) Haitian migrants in Costa Rica facing deportation are being offered relief due to the devastations suffered in Haiti by Hurricane Matthew.

On Monday, the Dirección de Migración y Extranjería (immigration service) suspended the deportation of Haitians.

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Immigration director Gisela Yockchen, said the decision was made on humanitarian issues and the suspension will remain until the situation changes in Haiti.

“The immigration status of a Haitian changes, it is no longer a question of the economics of a single migrant, but one of a country devastated by natural disaster,” said Yockchen.

The director added that Haitian migrants who entered the country illegally or violated any law and under deportation, their condition does not change, but the process (of deportation) itself is paralyzed indefinetly due to the effects of Matthew, which left in the Caribbean nation 372 dead, four missing and 246 injured according to the latest AFP report.

So far this year, the immigration service has only deported eight Haitians for violating immigration controls and violating Costa Rican law.

The immigration service admits not knowing exactly how many Haitian migrants “in irregular condition” (illegally) are in Costa Rica, given than many claim to be from Africa, a country that Costa Rica has said it will not deport to.

As of April 21, 2016, the immigration service estimated almost 15,000 migrants in the country, of that figure, 12.632 have been given a temporary transit permit for 25 days.

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However, given that Nicaragua continues with a closed border policy towards migrants, Costa Rica faces the problem of providing them shelter and medical care.

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