Alarming Situation: Migrants in Costa Rica Could Lose Their Immigration Status

Alarming Situation: The measure comes amid further attempts to stop the alarming spread of the Coronavirus in the national territory

Alarming Situation: The Covid-19 Coronavirus has completely changed the way humanity was used to seeing life. Different governments around the world are making serious decisions, and many of these will forever change our lives. Costa Rica is no exception to this situation.

In a presidential address, Carlos Alvarado, President of the Republic, announced measures of which we can highlight the following:
“As of this Tuesday, March 24, 2020, foreigners who
resides in our country with regular status and leaves will immediately lose their migratory status”. Likewise emphatically, the country’s first vice president,
Epsy Campbell stated that this decision is made as part of the sanitary measures to try to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

Authorities declare that drastic measures against Covid-19 will be the solution to overcome it.
In the last hours, a number greater than 600 foreigners that have been wanting to enter Costa Rican territory have been totally rejected by police officers at the border.
The argument given is that the vast majority of these are trying to enter irregularly, thus violating the contingency plans that are currently being executed in the country to avoid more Coronavirus infections from coming in.

It is said that Illegal entry to the country through border crossings creates an exponential danger of the virus continuing to spread,
which is why these types of measures are currently being enforced, supposedly in order to safeguard the nation’s health.

Status of Covid-19 in the country before these measures were taken.
Authorities declare that the Covid-19 Pandemic justifies these types of measures, since the WHO (World Health Organization), in the voice of its President, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
has given out its recommendations to the entire world stating that, the way to decrease contagion of this virus includes staying at home
and stopping the daily normal life activities in a given territory to the most strict possible level, with the intention of avoiding massive propagations such as those that have been registered in countries like China, Spain and Italy.

Evolution of the Covid-19 situation in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica, like the rest of the world, has not escaped experiencing this scourge since the first case was confirmed on March 6, an American woman who would had entered the country on March 1 from New York City.
Our country currently has 231 confirmed cases, 2 deaths, 1,619 cases discarded and 2 patients recovered.

The measure that withdraws immigration status is said to have been taken in order to safeguard public health.
There is still a lot of misinformation around this measure, its execution and how long will it last? Or what will happen to cases of true emergency that require a legal resident to leave the country.
For his part, the Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, said that these types of regulations are taken for the protection of the population, thus avoiding, among other situations, the pile-up of people at border crossings.

The opinion of experts on the matter.
What does these measures mean for thousands of migrants in Costa Rica? Mario Dolorzano, a Costa Rican doctor, specialist in Intensive Care says that, “It is important to highlight that the world is not prepared to face a Pandemic of this type”.
Less with the characteristics that Coronavirus brings;
At this point, it is important to highlight that a disease whose infectious focus is transmitted so quickly, has never been experienced. Thus forcing us to completely change our daily life as we know it.

The doctor, who is currently based in Madrid, gives us strong statements about what can happen if this Pandemic is not taken seriously enough and emphasizing that “Ticos” remain in their homes for at least the next 14 days. Otherwise, the consequences could be dire.

When Dr. Dolorzano was consulted about the position that the national government has taken with respect to withdrawing the immigration status of those who leave the country, he says:
“Although the measure may seem forceful, controversial and out of proportion, the world in which we now live begins to show us a new face and it may be the case that these measures are necessary to stop the spread of this fierce virus, otherwise the world will not be able to escape unscathed of this Pandemic.

Response by the Ministry of Migration and Aliens of Costa Rica:
This new immigration regulation that has been taken in the midst of a complex health emergency. It was created to safeguard the balance and health of the population,
which still does not seem to realize the serious problem that Covid-19 represents for the present and also the future.

What does the general population think?
The comments on social networks by Ticos referring to this measure, have been mixed, here are some examples:
Rafael Blanco: “We Ticos agree with taking this type of measure in Costa Rica to stop the spread of the Coronavirus; but without any splash of xenophobia, or hatred against foreigners.”

Yuli Murillo Mora: “Foreigners only come when they can get some benefit and when something goes wrong they leave.”

Edelys Silva: “I am in a request for refuge status and the truth is that with this global pandemic today I am very afraid, here I do not have social security or anything to protect me. I want to return to my country because of the situation.”

Adi Com: “There is no place for xenophobia at times like these, here there are many foreigners who contribute greatly to society and the economy, we all have families and we want the best for them as well as for all Ticos. This is a time to unite and show compassion, not hate.”

Alvaro Navarro Chaves: “You cannot remove a respirator from a citizen who is ill and put it on a foreigner who did not take care of himself inhis own country and has comes asking for entrance due to a humanitarian situation.”

In spite of the situation, the Minister of Security, Michael Soto, clarified that the presidential decree ordering the total closure of borders will not affect the entry into the country of migrants for humanitarian reasons.

This statement by the minister was due to a declaration by the Liberacionista deputy, Gustavo Viales, denouncing that immigration police had authorized the entry by the southern border, of two buses with migrants, protesting that the government does not comply with the new immigration measures, saying that these migrants are housed in a refugee center and go around freely, without nobody knowing their health condition.
Emphasizing that in Paso Canoas, migrants are allowed in and out while citizens are asked to abide by Health measures strictly. Costa Rican citizens and foreigners expressed the following regarding the situation:

The authorities have agreed that this situation could be extended for a few more months, which is why it is working to attend to the population in all its requirements beyond the health emergency
that is being experienced now and that all the population in the country should be aware of all the efforts taken.

From The Costa Rica News, are calling is to keep calm, meditate, collaborate openly, put into practice strict hygiene measures like proper handwashing and most importantly of all: #QuédateEnCasa.

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