Tuesday 21 September 2021

Half Of African Migrants Avoided Controls To Leave Costa Rica

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Costa Rica's border police has been on the lookout for coyotes (smugglers) that prey on the migrants desperate to reach the United States. Photo ALONSO TENORIO, La Nacion
Costa Rica’s border police has been on the lookout for coyotes (smugglers) that prey on the migrants desperate to reach the United States. Photo ALONSO TENORIO, La Nacion

(QCostarica) Evading immigration controls in Costa Rica and possibly those in Nicaragua, some 2,700 African and Haitian migrants found they way north, seeking to migrate to the United States.

The Dirección de Migración y Extranjería (Costa Rica’s immigration service) says that of the more than 4,700 migrants in the country since April, are no longer in Costa Rica.

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According to Mauricio Herrera, minister of Communications, the Government of Luis Guillermo Solis does not know now they left the county. It did, however, confirm that many of the foreigners in the care centres paid coyotes (smugglers) to crossed the northern border with Nicaragua.

“There are people who have been defrauded and robbed by coyotes. I do not know from what point they are leaving (crossing the border), but there is an agglomeration of Haitians and Africans in the Mexico – United States border, that have passed through here,” said Herrera.

In April, there was an explosion of migrants reaching Costa Rica from Brazil and Colombia by way of Panama. On April 10, Costa Rica said it would not accept anymore, but Panama refused to receive them returned, arguing that it could not be proven they had passed through their territory.

After protests and riots and transfers to detention centres, the government decided to give tthe migrants free transit through the country for 25 days.

According to Herrera, this time was to allow the migrants to decide to either return to their home country or seek out a third country to “somehow” to go to.

Authorities say that some 1,500 migrants are currently in the Peñas Blancas, El Jobo and Las Vueltas centres. Another 500 or so are in shelters in Buenos Aires de Puntarenas and Golfito.

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From April to date, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) reported providing medical attention to 1,298 migrants, at a cost of ¢121 million colones. Among the main health problems suffered by the migrants are gastrointestinal diseases, diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, skin problems, fevers, and ear infections, among others.

Herrera said that the Cancilleria (Foreign Ministry) is working on a solution, international agreements.

“Extremely worrisome is the trafficking. They are taking a trip under very high vulnerability. The big question is what to do and how to solve it,” said Ombudswoman Montserrat Solano.

Solano insists that the immigration issue should be a regional issue. Costa Rica can not solve it alone.

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Source: La Nacion

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