The liberal dilemma and immigration policy in Chile
Chile has historically been an emigration nation; however,in recent years,due to political and economic stability,it has also become a relevant source of attraction for regional immigrants. This chapter explores the features of Chile’s contemporary immigration management (1990- 2010),inserting said issue in significant discussions in the literature on immigration policies. The framework is the debate on the “liberal dilemma” of immigration policy,its main notion being that democratic states’ immigration policymaking processes share some peculiar trends,that usually lead to policies that are both expansive,regarding the number of migrants admitted,and inclusive,regarding the repertoire of rights granted. The hypothesis is that,over the last 20 years,Chile has become quite an expansive country,meaning that the strong restrictions to entry contained in the Law of Foreigners’ Affairs,inherited from the Pinochet dictatorship,are not being applied by state burocracies,so that the amount of migrants entering the country has been rising steadily –although with relevant rates of irregularity. At the same time,Chile remains non-inclusive when it comes to the rights recognized to immigrants. Such inconsistency has been promoted and sustained by the fact that Chilean immigration policy is a de facto policy,rather than a de jure one; the imbalance between effective management and regulatory framework results in an immigration policy with important degrees of discretional decision-making and opacity,to which will accrue the multiple “dilemmas” or paradoxes that characterize governments’ responses to immigration in democratic countries. Based on documental analysis,the chapter’s main contribution is a detailed characterization of this de facto policy,until now scarcely studied. It encompasses the main characteristics of the outdated existing law; the various international commitments assumed by the Chilean State in this subject; the evolution in official discourse on the matter; the changes that have marked the implementation of certain specific policies in practice,and their complex interaction with the prevailing normative framework.
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Institución: Universidad Alberto HurtadoFacultad: Ciencias SocialesUnidad: Ciencia Política & R.R.I.I