RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Monday, a Dominican citizen lost his life while crossing into Chile from Bolivia, bringing to 12 the number of victims attempting unauthorized crossings, Chilean authorities reported on Tuesday (14).
“So far this year, 12 people have died, eight of Venezuelan nationality, two of Colombian nationality, a Bolivian and a Dominican who died yesterday,” said the national director of Order and Security of the Carabineros police force, Esteban Diaz.
According to local media, the deceased was 30 years old and died due to extreme temperatures at the border crossing between the small Chilean town of Colchane and Bolivia, in an Andean region at an altitude of more than 3,600 meters above sea level.
In recent months, the pass has become a common route for foreigners to reach Chile irregularly.
Neither the pandemic nor the social crisis that extended for more than a year in 2019 has driven away the desire to migrate to Chile, one of the most attractive countries within Latin America, due to its political and economic stability.
According to the Chilean Government, between October last year and February this year, between 2,500 and 3,500 people entered Chile through the northern regions of Tarapacá and Arica, in an irregular manner.
In Chile, according to the Department of Foreigners and Migration, there are 1.4 million migrants, which is equivalent to more than 7% of the population, and Venezuelans are the most numerous, followed by Peruvians, Haitians, and Colombians.
To curb illegal entry, Chile’s conservative President Sebastián Piñera enacted a new, stricter migration law in April that requires foreigners to obtain visas in their countries of origin.
The law also allows the government to deport migrants, and since April, more than 500 people of different nationalities have been expelled on at least five charter flights.
The massive deportations have been harshly criticized by various pro-migrant and human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the United Nations, which have warned of serious violations of the fundamental rights of these foreigners.