The government announced on the Argentine Migration Office’s website that it plans to build and open a migrant detention center, as a tool to “combat irregularity” and for situations beyond those specifically established by the Migration Law and its detailed regulations. This implies the criminalization of migrants with irregular status, by associating them with a security problem.
Until 2004, Argentine immigration laws limited the available alternatives for migratory regularization. The state’s response to this situation included arrests, expulsions without court order, separation of families, denial of social rights, among other practices that poor migrants, in general from Latin America, were subjected to. For these reasons and due to the pressure and the consensus among broad political and social sectors, the law 25.871 and its regulatory decree 616/2010 were approved.
Those instruments defined that the regularization of all migrants living today in Argentine territory is a norm that should guide all actions taken by migratory authorities. Furthermore, in those cases in which they become aware of an individual with an irregular migratory situation, they should offer alternatives and the time needed to legalize his/her situation. Therefore, a person’s irregular migratory status cannot ever be viewed as a security issue, but rather as a critical matter for the recognition and exercise of the migrant population’s rights.
Deportation as a sanction imposed in response to an irregular migration status is a measure of last resort for the state. In addition, and only in the context of deportation, a migrant may be detained for a maximum period of 15 days. Deportation, on the other hand, can be executed only with a court’s well-reasoned decision.