It’s a great time to be a foreigner (sarcasm). The National Government announced yesterday that citizens born abroad who have been found guilty of a crime in Argentina can now be sent to prison in their home countries. So you better behave, bubblers.
Last August, Congress passed a law ratifying Argentina’s acceptance of the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad, which was apparently drafted back in 1994 and only adopted 20 years later, for some reason.
Before Argentina ratified it last month, eighteen other countries had done it before, including Brasil, Canada and the United States. And while our country is the last one to do so, there are still a few requirements that the foreigner in question must fulfill before being able to board the last train to deportation.
For example, a convicted felon must have approved of a prison transfer to their own country, but if the prisoner is getting the death penalty in their own country for whatever they did here, then Argentina will not send them back.
Oh, and when it comes to transportation fees, we’re all paying for it. But that was to be expected.
The ratification of the convention comes in the middle of a heated debate sparked by Security Secretary Sergio Berni after a few weeks ago he said that foreigners who came to Argentina to commit crimes had to be deported and never allowed to return. “Are you going to solve our crime problem with this? No. But we’ll be one step closer to the solution,” he had said, infuriating the most progressive strongholds in the country, who saw his statements as nothing but blatant xenophobia.
However, his position was supported by political leaders both in the Kirchnerite and opposition camps, such as Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich, mayor Mauricio Macri, lawmaker Sergio Massa and the governor of the Buenos Aires province Daniel Scioli. I know, right? Hard to see all of them agreeing on something. But hey, we’re almost a year from the presidential elections and crime is right on top of the population’s concerns, so whatever works.
After being accused of xenophobia, Berni replied that he was merely asking for a local law to be applied. “Argentina already has a law that says if a foreigner is found guilty of a crime, they get deported. Let’s enforce it.”
Stay out of trouble. Sarcasm will not keep you out of prison.