Costa Rica Immigration Cannot Detain Illegals posted by on April 29, 2012
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• Immigration can only issue a summons

The Dirección de Migración y Extranjería (immigration service) on Friday distributed a memorandum to all immigration posts with respect to a resolution by the Sala Constitucional (Constitutional Court) that prevents the detention of illegals.


Right now, Migración can only issue as summons to illegals in the country.

The new measures, according to the memorandum, are obligatory and states that immigration agents may not withhold the passport or travel document of a foreigner.

The measure is in response to an appeal of unconstitutionality by an association of domestic workers against Article 18, paragraphs 5, 12, 26 and 31 of the Ley de Migración y Extranjería (Immigration Act).

Those items gave the immigration police powers to:

• Detain for a period of up 24 hours any foreigner for the purpose of verifying their immigration status, after which time either they would be an immigration order issued or the person released

• The detention period could be extended in situations on the order of the Director

• Investigate the foreign for corruption and association with international organized crime

• Once the investigation was completed, and the identify of the foreigner verified by the consulate of the country of origin, an administrative detention of up to 30 days could be made and deportation issued within the period, which period could be extended by the Director.


The above items are now invalidated until the Constitutional Court makes a final resolution on the appeal.

The immigration service reports that on Saturday alone, 13 illegal immigrants who entered the country by vehicle were arrested at Peñas Blancas border with Nicaragua.

Authorities say the vehicle belongs to a gang of “coyotes” who move illegals and goods across the border.

Also, so far this year, the immigration service has detained nearly 800 Cubans with “irregular” immigration status and the majority had their passports confiscated as a precautionary measure.

In addition, the immigration service reports having stopped two illegals who had just completed their sentence in the La Reforma prison for robbery, but given the Court decision, had to set them free with a summons.

The question now by immigration officials is what will be of the foreign nationals being detained at the Hatillo detention centre, for the Court has yet to provide a clear answer.

The Hatillo detention centre is now holding 38 foreigners, some of them suspected of a crime in their country, including the case of Colombian former guerilla, Libardo Parra.

Source: Telenoticias

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