While the United States is trying to block the entry of immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries, Argentina is laying the groundwork to deport illegal immigrants from its territory.
President Mauricio Macri has recently issued a decree that makes it much easier to deport immigrants and restrict their entry, leaving them little or no time to explain the reason they arrived in the country.
The decree comes on the heels of a call by a right-wing congressman Alfredo Olmedo that the country should build a wall on its border with Peru and Bolivia.
In addition, the deportation plan has a groundswell of support, with as much as 69% of respondents endorsing the plan in a poll conducted by consultancy firm Poliarquía.
In the decree, Macri argued that immigrants make up more than 20% of prison populations in federal penitentiaries. About 33% of those convicted of drug trafficking in the country are foreigners, according to local media reports.
The decree gives immigrants less than a week to file appeals and denies them the right to hire a government lawyer.
Argentina’s Director of National Immigration, Horacio José Garcia, has clarified that the decree will not block the inflow of foreigners who want to work or study in the country, according to the Buenos Aires Herald.
Immigrants account for nearly 5% Argentina’s population, originating mainly from Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru.
More than crime, Argentines are worried that immigrants would be eating into national social welfare funds. Although it is not a socialist country like Venezuela, healthcare and education are free in Argentina.