Variance of the official figures concerning irregular entries in Chile remain an issue. On one hand, the Police reports that over 10,600 people have entered the country through unofficial border points until September 2021. Over 80% of them entered through the Tarapacá Region, 17% through Arica and Parinacota, and 2.3% through Antofagasta. On the other hand, the Investigations Police reports this figure to be over 23,600. Throughout the entire year of 2020, the Investigations Police reports that 16,600 have entered the country irregularly.
The Ministry of Health reported that since mid-august and throughout September more than 4,000 Covid-19 tests have been conducted at the Antofagasta bus terminal. According to R4V partners, early in September, daily crowding at the bus terminal reached highs of 700 hundred people, mostly from Venezuela.
After a request from regional authorities, the Minister of Defense and the Undersecretary of the Interior announced the reinforcement of border controls, the continuation of the collective expulsions, and the creation of temporary quarantine shelters to receive irregular refugees and migrants.
On 24 September, the police carried out an eviction order of 158 refugees and migrants who were sheltering at a public square in Iquique (Plaza Brazil) in a 300-tent camp in precarious conditions. The order was issued by the national government´s representation in the region of Tarapacá. After the eviction, 14 were detained after clashes with the police. On the following day, a protest gathered 5,000 citizens who complained about the lack of response from authorities about the current migrant situation. They were also complaining about how migrants end up occupying several public spaces and disrupting the lives of locals. There were episodes of aggression towards the migrants living on the square and the belongings of some of the families were burnt.
Among some of the reactions to the eviction and protests, the Chilean Prosecutor´s office opened an investigation and ordered protection measures for 16 children and elderly persons who were evicted. The Interior Minister regretted the events, but declared that the expulsions will continue. The Governor of Tarapaca announced bus serviceswould be arranged to support the evicted families who have parents in other regions to join them.
On 8 September, the Ministry of Interior issued nationalization letter to 199 Venezuelans. So far this year, 1,350 people of diverse nationalities have received the citzenship. Most of the letters were issued to persons living in Metropolitan Region (907), Antofagasta (88) and Arica and Parinacota (66).