Law to Prohibit Naturalization of Foreigners with Criminal Records Advances in the National Assembly

Bill provides exceptions for refugees and stateless persons

Unanimously, the Legislative Assembly’s Special Permanent Commission on Security and Drug Trafficking affirmatively ruled a bill that seeks to prohibit naturalization for foreigners with criminal records.

The initiative, which consists of adding a new item to the causes that prevent Costa Rican naturalization to those who have final sentences for malicious crimes committed inside or outside the country in the last 10 years.

Likewise, the text provides that foreigners who have pending legal proceedings -both at the local and international levels- have their procedures suspended until a final resolution is issued by the courts of justice.

The proposal also has two exceptions

One for refugees who have a criminal record before granting the category, as long as it is granted by the Restricted Visas and Refugee Commission of the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners (DGME). The latter would imply that the office knows of the existence of the sentence, for international protection issues. Another for stateless persons with a criminal record before the declaration of that condition by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship (MREC). None of the exceptions will apply to people who commit malicious crimes in Costa Rica or abroad after the granting or declaration of the condition they enjoy.

The law plan was promoted by the president of the commission, Gustavo Viales Villegas, through a joint effort with the Judicial Investigation Organism (OIJ) and the Higher Office of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE).

A significant contribution

For the deputy of the National Liberation Party (PLN), the proposal “contributes to the national security of the country, since it has a direct impact on criminality, limiting people with highly reprehensible behaviors to settle in our country.” Viales explained that for the granting of Costa Rican nationality, behavior and respect for the regulatory system must be taken into account.

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