As part of the initiative to create a National Border Commission in a bid to ‘establish a comprehensive strategy to fight drug trafficking, the smuggling of people, contraband and other transnational crimes’, Macri signed off on new immigration controls last Thursday.
Despite Argentine Director of Immigration, Horacio García, publicly defending the measures, saying that they are not a ‘persecution plan’ and boldly adding that the Government in fact ‘has the moral authority’ to impose limits on the entry of immigrants into the country — especially in light of recent events in the United States’ tightening on immigration policy — this new legislation is not sitting well with many people both inside and out of Argentina.
Among those particularly vocal about their disapproval of this move was Reymi Ferreira, the Bolivian Minister of Defense, who stated in conversation with local media that he believes this policy was ‘rushed’ and that it could potentially generate ‘xenophobia as well as discriminatory and racist acts.’
Chiming in with Ferreira’s criticism, Bolivian Senator José Alberto Gonzales highlighted that ‘small sectors’ — which he qualified as ‘ultraconservative’ in ‘Argentine society hope to blame foreigners and immigrants’ for the prevalence of crime. Although made sure to add that this should not ‘provoke a [Bolivian] reaction against Argentines’ given that this small group is not representative of the entire nation.
Human rights defender Amnesty International weighed in on these new migration controls too, calling this a ‘regressive policy that introduces hindrances to the entry and stay of migrants in the country, […] violates the right of defense, eliminates the family unit as a condition to avoid expulsion and restricts access to Argentine nationality.’ Amnesty International added that this policy goes as far as to ‘violate rights established by the National Constitution and international human rights treaties.’
Furthermore, although not directly addressing these particular migration controls, Bolivian President Evo Morales — a controversial but consistent spokesperson for unity and integration in Latin America — vehemently expressed his disdain for the xenophobic attitudes proliferating in politics in North America and called for countries within the region to condemn rather than imitate such policies.
Hnos. Presidentes latinoamericanos seamos #PatriaGrande, NO sigamos políticas migratorias del norte. Juntos por nuestra soberanía y dignidad
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) January 31, 2017
Tweet reads: ‘Brother Latin American Presidents we are a #GreatHomeland, let us NOT follow the migration politics of the North. Together in our sovereignty and dignity.’
Given that Argentina’s last review at the end of 2016 by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed concern about discrimination against migrants and the increase in expulsion orders in the country, it looks like these new controls measures might be worth reviewing.