Immigration officials outline an agenda for the new administration

Outgoing Costa Rican migration and security officials called upon the next administration to promote the quality of life for immigrants coming into the country. Wednesday the Ministerio de Gobernación y Policía released a report detailing migration and human development progresses and future improvements.

Freddy Mauricio Montero Mora, the vice minister of Gobernación y Policía, said the country has made huge strides since the advent of Ley 8764, known as the general law of migration. He added that the ministry’s report, now in its third version, has laid out the principles and focal points on which the next government can capitalize.

“I think it presents a clear plan for what Costa Rica needs for its future,” he said. “I hope these elements serve to guide the new administration on a successful path.”

According to the packet, in 2013 Costa Rica had nearly 375,000 foreign inhabitants, which make up 8 percent of the nation’s total residents.

Only 6 percent of medical consultations through the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social came from non-Costa Ricans. This figure seems even more striking when compared with the fact that 11 percent of the workers registered through the Caja are foreigners. “This contradicts the perception that foreigners, and especially Nicaraguans, abuse the services of the Caja,” the report states.

Commerce, agriculture, service, and construction jobs continue to be filled by immigrant labor.

Aberlado Morales Gamboa, an investigator for the ministry, emphasized that Costa Rica is not an island as there are seven other countries in Central America with markets that can benefit the nation. He said that the people who come to Costa Rica from these neighboring nations should be valued at the same level of any citizen in terms of human rights concerns.

“We cannot forget that they are not just an economic statistic or someone in need of a job,” Morales said. “More than this, the immigrant is still a person.”

Morales said that a migrant’s full social inclusion into his country and community directly benefits that environment. He cited an improvement in human rights for migrant populations since 2010, when the new law went into effect,  as a reason numerous industries have been able to blossom.

Luis Carlos Esquivel from the local office of the International Immigration organization said these steps in assuring migrants overall success help both them and the society receiving them. Like Morales, he said that when a country welcomes these populations with hospitality it improves the future likelihood that more will come and add to the country’s production power.

María Mercedes Peñas Domingo, the wife of president-elect Luis Guillermo Solís, sat front row in attendance for the meeting.

By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

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