Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on Wednesday declared a constitutional state of emergency in four northern provinces, granting special powers to the Armed Forces to control irregular migration along the border. The measure, which will last 15 days with the possibility of a two-week renewal, includes the deployment of 672 military personnel and 100 police officers to guard Chile`s northern border with Bolivia and Peru.
The South American country is facing a "migratory and security crisis," mainly in the provinces of Arica, Parinacota, Tamarugal and El Loa, according to the government, amid an increase in the flow of migrants through unauthorized crossings and in extreme conditions. The president explained in a press statement that the police and military will conduct patrols and checks, establish new observation posts, deploy drones and unmanned aircraft, utilize helicopters for surveillance and transfer, along with night vision cameras, thermal cameras and satellite communication equipment.
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Currently, dozens of people are stranded in border towns waiting for an official resolution, after entering the country through unauthorized crossings. Chile recently introduced a migration law that seeks to "order the migratory flow" in the country, according to Pinera, who stated that he has been in talks with the neighbouring countries of Argentina, Bolivia and Peru to resolve the situation. The new regulation will return people who enter the country irregularly to the border immediately, without a prior trial.