Between 2015 and 2017, the number of deportations in Argentina increased by 121 percent. An exponential jump which only counts foreigners with criminal records, and which has been caused by the Decreto de Necesidad y Urgencia (decree made out of urgency), decided by Mauricio Macri’s government last year and which altered the current Migration Law. Although declared unconstitutional by the Federal Chamber, it was passed by the Casa Rosada in front of the Supreme Court.
According to the numbers provided by the Direction for National Migration (DNM), reported by El Cronista, in 2014 there were a total of 809 foreigners asked to leave the country because of their criminal records, a number which isn’t far from the 2015 figure of 985.
The next year, Cambiemos’ first year in power, the number rose markedly to 1,286, and followed the same path in 2017 with 1,983 foreigners deported. So far in 2018, 707 people have been deported; if the trend continues it could surpass 2,000 at year’s end.
Without the modification of the law, in 2016 they would have only been 655 demands of expulsion, compared to the 1,286 there actually were.
Although the number is impressive, it represents only the petitions made by the administration, and not the actual figure of those deported. Justice has the final world in the end, and in 2016 for example only 8 percent of the 1,286 sentenced returned to their home countries. However, this number is on the rise too, with 420 people actually deported last year (about 21 percent). Argentina’s justice system is also picking up speed. While in 2016 a foreigner had to wait up to 24 months for the decision to be confirmed, influencing therefore the previous statistics, things are moving much more quickly nowadays, to around just 50 to 60 days.
On the same topic, on March 31, 2018 it was announced that around 2,658 foreigners were in custody by the Federal Penitentiary Service. 852 of them (6.65 percent of the total prison population) are in jail, while 1,806 are awaiting trial and sentencing.
The amount of granted residence permits is also decreasing, although it can’t be especially linked to any of Macri’s new policies; the number has been fluctuating since 2012. However, since the 272,473 granted in 2015, it has dipped from 224,324 in 2016 to 223,016 in 2017, and finally 64,806 for the first four months of 2018, predicting an important reduction compared to last year.
Moreover, not only are these residency permits on a decline for the past three years, but they are shifting toward temporary residencies rather than permanent.
It seems then that the decree has already made its impact on the Argentine immigration landscape. Changing the requirement to deport foreigners with criminal records has resulted in an expedited deportation process as well. According to the Center for Legal and Social Studies, it even brings back the criteria used during the military dictatorship, between 1976 and 1983.