NewsLatin AmericaWith online shifts, Costa Rica seeks to improve the conditions of refugee applicants

With online shifts, Costa Rica seeks to improve the conditions of refugee applicants

(CNN Spanish) — In an attempt to reduce the lines that form on the outskirts of the Refuge Unit in San José, the General Directorate of Migration and Immigration of Costa Rica reported that as of February 20 it will implement a pilot plan that will provide places for attention in line or telephone to foreigners who request refuge in the country for the first time.

The dependency of the Ministry of the Interior and Police said in a statement that 70 daily spaces will be enabled through the website or by calling the toll-free telephone line (506) 2299-80-99, at starting at 8 in the morning. Appointments will be granted from one day to the next, until the quotas are filled.

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In two tours that CNN made at night on February 6 and 13, the lines of refugee applicants in front of the organization’s headquarters stretched for about 100 meters, with migrants, most of them Nicaraguans, sleeping on the sidewalks. on cartons.

This was Ángela Darce, a Nicaraguan migrant, who said that she entered the country for the first time on February 1st. “Before it was calling by phone and now you have to wait in line, to sleep on this side, to get a number, it’s hard.”

According to Carlos Huezo, from the SOS Nicaragua Human Rights Organization from Costa Rica, the lines have been registered since January, after the entry into force of two executive decrees on December 1, which toughened the conditions for granting refuge and which, among other things, eliminated appointments via telephone, which now return with the pilot plan.

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Likewise, as of the December decrees, work permits are no longer issued immediately to applicants, the refugee request must be made within the first month after arrival in the country and this status is denied to those who, before entering to Costa Rica, they crossed through countries considered safe.

“We are talking about so that people can obtain a token, a field, a quota, under conditions that are not decent. Sleeping there, sleeping on cardboard, without any type of assistance in terms of sanitary cabins,” Huezo emphasized.

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The director of Migration and Immigration, Marlen Luna, told CNN that the Refuge Unit registers “at this time more than 1,000 people a day”, contemplating those who already had “a prior appointment requested before the publication of the decree that reformed The procedure”.

According to Migration, from 2018 to date, of the 270,000 people who applied for refuge, some 225,000 have already formalized the process, another 50,000 have an appointment to do so and 92% correspond to Nicaraguans.


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