LatinNews Daily - 27 February 2023

CHILE: Army to be deployed for migrant checks

On 24 February, Chile’s interior minister, Caroline Tohá, confirmed that the armed forces are being deployed this week to the northern macro-zone, to help protect the country’s borders with Peru and Bolivia amid an influx of migrants. 


Chile has seen a surge in immigration in recent years, with migrants entering the country, often illegally, through its northern borders. Amid a general increase in crime, this has given rise to strong anti-immigrant sentiment, while local authorities have been demanding that the government in Santiago declare a state of exception, as is in place in the southern region affected by the indigenous Mapuche conflict - but the government of President Gabriel Boric has resisted such a course of action, instead resorting to the military through different mechanisms. 

  • Earlier this month congress approved the law on critical infrastructure, which allows the president to call upon the armed forces via decree to protect critical infrastructure “in cases of serious or imminent danger”. The comptroller general’s office (CGR) gave the go-ahead on such a decree last week.
  • This means that the armed forces are now being deployed in northern Chile to help with border control efforts by the police. The military will notably carry out identity checks, searches of personal effects, and detain any migrants who have entered the country through unauthorised border points.
  • The law authorising the military deployment clearly outlines the steps to be followed by the armed forces before they resort to lethal force. 
  • The measure has not been so enthusiastically welcomed in the north region, with the governor of Arica y Parinacota, Jorge Díaz, questioning the effectiveness of getting the army involved in this way. “I think it will be very complex [for the measure to work],” Díaz was reported as saying, while criticising the fact that decisions are made in Santiago, 2,000 km away from the problem. He defends a more aggressive approach, using the armed forces to prevent the entry of migrants from Peru and Bolivia rather than detaining them (if they’ve entered illegally) after the fact. 

Looking Ahead: According to press reports, Tohá is due to travel to northern Chile from today (27 February) to accompany the military deployment.

Intelligence Research Ltd.
167-169 Great Portland Street,
5th floor,
London, W1W 5PF - UK
Phone : +44 (0) 203 695 2790
You may contact us via our online contact form
Copyright © 2022 Intelligence Research Ltd. All rights reserved.