The Issue of Immigration in Colombia
Retrieved May 5, 2018, from https://www. migrationpolicy. org/article/top-10-2017-issue-10-latin-america-spike-migrant-arrivals-prompts-flurry-responses The article talks about the issue of migration in South America. In particular it highlights the emigration issue that has plagued Venezuela and it goes on to describe how emigrants from this nation have migrated into Colombia. In addition, it further talks about how Colombia has introduced ways for Venezuelans to legalize their stay in Colombia through the Border Mobility Cards and Special Stay permits in an attempt to help these refugees (Bolter, 2017). (2017, August 9). The Consequences of Massive Immigration in Colombia. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from http://www. coha. org/the-consequences-of-massive-immigration-in-colombia/ The article discusses the current situation in Colombia following the peace agreement between the government and the guerilla group called FARC.
The article discusses this and they include the Visitor’s visa, the Migrant Visa and the Residence visa (Foster LLP, 2017). In addition, it also highlights the new requirements for immigration. All of the reforms are intended to streamline immigration into Colombia. Kempadoo, K. , Sanghera, J. Introduction December 2016 marked the end of a 52-year civil war that had torn Colombia apart, leading to deaths of more than 220,000 people and the fleeing of more than 7. 2 million people from their homes to other places within and outside the nation (Carvajal, 2017). Moreover, it led to significant losses to the economy as well as to the general public. The country finally found peace after four years of negotiations between the Colombian government and the left wing of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
However, the war had already done significant damage to the nation, particularly when it comes to the issue of migration. These new policies are under the resolution 6045/2017 (Caravjal, 2017). The purpose of this paper is to discuss Colombia’s immigration policy, the impacts of the policies on immigration rights and my position on immigration the same issue. Migrant policies in Colombia have had many positive effects on migrant rights and this is supported by many reasons including the fact that they protect Colombian refugees in other nations from exploitation, they promote basic rights of refugees from other nations like Venezuela and the Colombian government has also restituted land taken away from Colombian immigrants Brief History As early as 14,000 BC the area that is currently Colombia received migrants in the form of hunters and gatherers who used Colombia as a gateway into the rest of the South American continent.
As early as the 16th century an indigenous group inspired a gold-rush legend called Eldorado, and this would later bring in more immigrants into Colombia, eventually leading to the colonization of Colombia and the rest of South America by the Spaniards (Carvajal, 2017). The European migration began in 1510 when San Sebastian De Uraba was colonized. This was the second largest group of immigrants to migrate into Colombia (Carvajal, 2017). Both of these groups made a significant impact on trade and commerce, and they were also involved in politics of the nation during the early 19th century. These Asian immigrants reduced in the late 1900s, but their descendants remained an active part of the Colombian society. European migrants arrived in Colombia in the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries.
Among these were Jewish people who came between 1830 and 1938 and they contributed significantly to the expansion of trade and finance. Ironically one of the largest guerrilla group, FARC, fought for justice reforms and issues like drug trafficking while at the same time they funded their operations using money from drug trafficking together with other activities like extortion and kidnapping. It is only recently in 2016 that the civil war finally ended when the government and FARC reached a peace agreement following four years of negotiations. Early in 2017, the government started peace talks with another group known as National Liberation Army (ELN). These efforts have promoted peace in the nation, but the government has a lot of work to do, particularly when it comes to issues like internal displacement where more than 7 million people have been affected.
Also, it needs to make many reforms on immigration to attract foreign investors to the nation and even encourage foreign refugees of the country to come back to their motherland. These new policies include the reduction of the previous 21 visa subcategories to just three and the introduction of other new requirements. The purpose of this reform is mainly to streamline the process of visa application in the nation and in the process promote migration into the country. According to the current policy, visas are currently placed in three categories, and these include visitor, migrant, and residence visas. The visitor visa (Type V) is granted to those visiting the nation for various reasons like tourism, business, seminars, medical issues, training and other short-term activities (Foster LLP, 2017).
The visa is valid for a maximum of 2 years. There were also changes made to the immigration requirements. First of all, there was the introduction of the work permit concept which was issued independently of the visas. This requirement allows the Colombian government to issue a work permit to anyone registered under any of the three visa categories though this depends on the kind of work they do. Another thing is shortening the deadline to get visa stamps. Unlike before where the deadline for visa stamping took two months, the new resolution provided that a visa applicant will get 30 days from the time they received their visa to request a stamp. Migrants are either those people who have come into the nation voluntarily with the aim of acquiring jobs in the country or they could be the thousands of refugees who have been forced outside their countries by civil war as was the case in Colombia (Bolter, 2017).
Therefore, the impacts of the immigration policies on human rights are multifaceted when it comes to Colombia. One way in which immigration policies have impacted immigrant rights is by preventing further violation of their rights in foreign countries by facilitating their return to Colombia. The refugees who have fled to the United States, for instance, have been subject to activities like human trafficking which has significantly violated their human rights. Others, based on their refugee status do not receive equal opportunities like other people in the nation when it comes to jobs, education and so forth and this has impacted their human rights further. If the country had not accommodated them, there would have been significant consequences. Moreover, for a long time, the nation has been affected by irregular migrants who sneak across the border.
These irregular migrants are often associated with criminal activities like drug and human trafficking and exploitation of people (Kempadoo et al. Smugglers in most cases recruit people, refugees, for instance, desperate to get into the country and use them to smuggle drugs and other illegal substances. By doing so, these people undermine the rights of those who seek to enter the nation legally. This means that the violence in Colombia has not stopped altogether. Therefore, the government could be potentially exposing immigrants to harm by encouraging them to come back. In fact, most Colombian nationals have hesitated to go back to the nation as they fear for their lives (Carvajal, 2017). Those encouraged to go back and agree could be exposed to the war and this would violate their fundamental rights to protection and even to life as a result of the violence that still exists.
As a result, it would be wise for the government to deal with the issue first before encouraging these people to come back into the nation. The country has gone on to provide financial assistance as well as facilitation of land restitution to the affected people whether internally displaced or refugees. This way, the nation has protected their right to property. By 2015 the country had restored the land to thousands of families who were displaced from their homes. To further support my argument that the migrant policies uphold migrant rights I will consider the case where the visas program has been streamlined. The visitor visas, for instance, come encourage foreign nationals to come and invest in the country where they have an option of acquiring a migrant visa if they decide to stay for a prolonged period in the nation (Foster LLP, 2017).
Persistent inequality in the nation where rural areas had limited infrastructure was the root of the civil war, and these actions intend to remedy the situation. Also, the government has initiated reparation programs for the victims of the war both within the country and those outside. The government has introduced repatriation programs in conjunction with the nations abroad where the war victims have sought asylum. When these refugees migrate back into their homeland, the government has helped them settle in their previous homes through financial support and those who lack essential service have been provided for by the relief systems that are in place. To further support my argument, The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has been working together with the Colombian government to provide sustainable solutions to refugees.
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