Skip to main content

Controversy Over Macri Administration’s Alleged Intention To Open A Detention Center For ‘Illegal Immigrants’

By | [email protected] | August 26, 2016 6:54pm


Different human rights organizations today raised alarm bells after news surfaced that the Macri administration is set to open a center to hold and process immigrants who break Argentine migration law.

The center, located in the Capital’s neighborhood of Barracas, would start operating on September 1 and, according to a resolution from the Security Ministry headed by Patricia Bullrich, will hold those who “illegally entered the (nation’s) territory” or have “a court order determining their expulsion,” a decision that is finally made by the National Migrations Direction (DNM).

Different social organizations were quick to question the decision, arguing that not only illegal immigration does not configure a just cause for detention, but that it would also be a radical change of turn in the country’s immigration policy, historically welcoming to those who want to settle in the country. In fact, the Constitution assures the “benefits of freedom, for us, for our posterity, and for all men (and women) of the world who want to inhabit Argentine soil.”

In a press release issued today, Amnesty International argued that the announcement “represents a breaking point in the Argentine migration policy, carried out in accordance to law 25,871, celebrated at a world level for its focus on human rights and for promoting migrants being brought into the system over control and restriction measures.”

“Amnesty international discourages detaining migrants as a tool to exercise migration control. All people, migrants and asylum seekers included, have a right to freedom, freedom of circulation and protection against arbitrary detention,” the release adds.

Moreover, in an op-ed today published in Perfil outlet, head of SOS international discrimination NGO and founder of the National Institute Against Discrimination (INADI) Víctor Ramos, argued that this is part of a larger offensive against migrants:

“New head of the Migrations Direction, Horacio García, inaugurated a police-like style regarding newcomers”: “he finished the ‘Patria Grande’ program (by which the Argentine government intends to regularize the paper situation of native citizens from countries members of the Mercosur trading bloc and its associates. This is basically all South America) to instate a persecution plan that is manifested in the 12,700 immigrants prosecuted during the year’s first semester.”

Ramos goes on to say that, according to a member of a government entity tasked with defending immigrants, “the UN’s different human rights conventions for migratory policies, which our country has signed, clearly state that the detention of people for migratory regulation purposes harms freedom itself and criminalizes the right of circulation.”

No official from the Macri administration has commented on the issue at the time this article is being written.