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CHANGING THE LOCK: REFORMING CHILE'S MIGRATION POLICY IN 2019, A

COMPARATIVE STUDY

Jorge Andrés Vásquez Neira

Diseño de investigación en Políticas Publicas


Profesor: Claudio Fuentes Saavedra

FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS SOCIALES E HISTORIA


ESCUELA DE CIENCIA POLÍTICA

Santiago, Chile 2019


Abstract:

Migration policy is a key issue in academic and public debate in countries with a recent increase in
migration flows. The literature proposes different political factors that could explain why a migration
law adopts an "Open" or "restrictive" form to regulate the entry of immigrants. This policy issue has
been a recent problem for OECD countries, where legislation to enter and stay in a country and
mechanisms to inspect residence permits and access to borders show similar trends. As one of the last
members of this organization, Chile has faced significant migratory flows, and is currently in its last
legislative process to have a new migration law. The intensification of the debate on the subject allows
us to observe which political factors specific to the country's party system and the public sphere
influence the "Opening" or "restriction" of the law. This project proposes to carry out a comparative
analysis of the current draft law with different cases from OECD countries in order to understand public
policy trends. The objective is to establish how Chile compares with OECD and regional trends. The
monitoring of the legislative process and of the changes and main elements that will affect the bill would
make it possible to determine the political factors that could influence Chile's new migration law. It is
concluded that certain explanatory elements such as populist discourses and public attention can travel
from OECD countries to the case of Chilean legislation.

Key words: Migratory policy, Comparative public policy, Chile, Migratory law

Resumen

La política migratoria es una cuestión clave en el debate académico y público de los países con un
aumento reciente de los flujos migratorios. La literatura propone diferentes factores políticos que
podrían explicar por qué una ley de migración adopta una forma "Abierta" o "restrictiva" para regular
la entrada de inmigrantes. Esta cuestión de política ha sido un problema reciente para los países de la
OCDE, donde la legislación para entrar y permanecer en un país y los mecanismos para inspeccionar los
permisos de residencia y el acceso a las fronteras presentan tendencias similares. Siendo uno de los
últimos miembros de esta organización, Chile ha enfrentado importantes flujos migratorios, y
actualmente se encuentra en su último proceso legislativo para contar con una nueva ley de migración.
La intensificación del debate sobre el tema, nos permite observar qué factores políticos específicos del
sistema de partidos del país y de la esfera pública influyen en la "Apertura" o "restricción" de la ley. Este
proyecto propone realizar un análisis comparativo del proyecto de ley actual con diferentes casos de
países de la OCDE para entender las tendencias de las políticas públicas. El objetivo es establecer cómo
se compara Chile con las tendencias de la OCDE y de la región. El seguimiento del proceso legislativo y
de los cambios y principales elementos que afectarán el proyecto de ley permitiría determinar los
factores políticos que podrían influir en la nueva ley migratoria de Chile. Se concluye que ciertos
elementos explicativos como los discursos populistas y la atención pública pueden viajar desde los
países de la OCDE al caso de la legislación chilena.

Palabras clave: Política migratoria, Política pública comparada, Chile, Derecho migratorio

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1. Problematization

In recent decades, immigration policy has become an important topic of debate in different regions,
states, academic circles and for the international community. Waves of migration have forced European
countries to review and strengthen regulations for entering and staying in a country. Recent
comparative studies based on data collected in the Migration Policy in Comparison (IMPIC) project have
studied this issue. This project gathers information on the migration policy of all OECD members and
measures its "restrictiveness"/"openness" from 0 to 1. Academics have found evidence that in OECD
countries, migration policies have become more open until 2010. However, mechanisms for the
restrictive control of legal access have increased:

While intentions to make policies more restrictive might be very strong it is still an open
question to what extent states actually adopt such policies. Already more than two decades
ago, Freeman (1994: 29) argued that democracies have more and better means to control their
borders than in earlier times. According to him, “[t]he long-term trend is undeniably toward
greater, not less, government effort and capacity to control international migration.”. (Helbling,
M. 2017. P. 3)

At the same time, there is a very serious debate about the compatibility of migration policies
established today by some states and the respect of international human rights treaties. Even these
public policies open normative and ethical debates regarding the principle of free circulation and
residence. However, the trend in OECD countries up to 2010 seems to be very similar among their
members. The emergence of anti-migration movements does not seem to have a major impact on
trends at the regional level in the EU or at the global level (Helbling, M. 2017). Despite these findings on
international trends, studies on migration policy have not explained what factors determine whether
public migration policy legislation becomes "open" or "closed". This raises the question of what kind of
political phenomenon(s) can explain the current changes in immigration policies in OECD countries from
the 21st century onwards.

While migration studies are beginning to investigate these factors for European or North
American cases, few Latin American countries have been approached from this perspective. Chile in
particular is a case of great interest for migratory studies in political science mainly for three reasons:
(1) It is a country that has recently reached similar levels of economic, social and political development
as the rest of the OECD countries (2) The migratory flows to Chile from Latin American countries have
increased enormously in the last 5 years and have been characterized by a heterogeneity in their

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socioeconomic composition (ECLAC, 2018). (4) Chile is currently finalizing the legislative debate that
will define the legal guidelines of its public migration policy, which means a unique moment to observe
the course of the legislative debate and compare its outcome with that of other countries.

It is of great relevance for the study of immigration policy to show whether the political
elements that force these trends can travel to new countries facing new waves of migration. In the
countries of the European Union, public policies in relation to the migratory phenomenon have been
affected by the movement or displacement of refugees and the closing or opening of borders according
to the internal political context of governments (Withol, 2018). Case studies from countries that have
recently joined the OECD are relevant to understanding the implementation of immigration policies.
This is mainly due to the fact that they allow us to understand regional realities different from the
European or Western ones, providing theoretical clues to explore new cases.

The case of Chile is also of great relevance, since today it is positioned as the most attractive
destination for migration in Latin America. This has led the current government of President Sebastián
Piñera to modernize the law (updating a previous bill from his first term) and to establish immediate
changes in the different public policies of immigration institutions that use direct administrative powers
as decrees with the force of law. The bill was approved in its first stage in the Chamber of Deputies with
almost unanimous support and is currently in the second stage of the legislative process (Chamber of
Deputies, 2019). Since then, there has been a strong rejection of the immigrant population expressed
through demonstrations and statements in the media before the upcoming approval of a law that
considers "institutionalizes a series of abuses against foreigners" (La Tercera, 2019).

Using the available indicators constructed by IMPIC to measure openness/restrictiveness, this study
seeks to determine the current openness or restriction of the migration policy project in Chile using a
mixed methodology. The latter consists of the comparison of quantitative variables between the case
studies and a qualitative analysis of the political contexts of each case. In a second part, this project
proposes to study the qualitative aspects of the legislative process in Chile in order to clarify which
political elements can lead to its Opening/Restriction. Finally, the study will use its results to conclude
whether current theories can explain changes in migration policy in Chile and which elements of the
legislative process are key to determining its Openness/Restrictiveness.

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1. Theoretical Framework

There is extensive literature on migration as a social phenomenon and part of this literature focuses
on how modern nation-states respond and must respond to the different flows they receive. This
question and its effects on demographic and social aspects have been studied for a long time. Starting
from a definition of international human rights organizations, migration as a phenomenon is, and always
will be, a characteristic and constant feature of humanity (Vargas 2011). However, studies of the
incoming population remain an academic debate that tries to separate itself from the mainstream
beliefs that constantly contaminate the debate and to reveal technical aspects about demographic
effects as well as public policies.

Thus, despite the fact that the main media attach great importance to south-north migration, the
greatest migratory flows occur in a south-south dimension (Thiollet, 2016). However, borders have
become a major issue in countries around the world. Thus, the debate on how the effects of public
migration policies have changed the behaviour of national borders is one that has only recently been
addressed. For some years now, academics have shown an interest in comparing public policies on
immigration to see how similar they are and in what direction they seem to be moving. Evidence has
been gathered from similar developed countries, with OECD members being the most qualified for this
type of study, basing these data on comparative indicators of state migration laws and policies.

As for trends in public migration policies, academics have found evidence of similar changes in
developed countries. On average, OECD countries intend to welcome foreign labour into their
economies, but at the same time establish strong regulation and control of the immigrant population
(Helbling, M. 2017). These types of regulation can be seen as "walls": highly complex bureaucratic
systems that must be confronted by migrants in order to become legal immigrants. The functioning of
these walls in reality has been part of the public policy debate and can be addressed by different
theories. A first approximation is "post-national citizenship" (Jacobson 1997; Sassen 1998; Soysal 1994).

This theory considers supranational authorities as an important element in shaping and


restricting nation-states in the implementation of restrictive policies, negatively affecting the rights of
immigrants and cultural minorities. An example of this theory can be seen in the EU Commission
agreements that set demographic limits for refugee asylum and the protection of EU members. From a
different perspective, Joppke (1998; 2007) proposes democratic liberalism as a regime that follows the
fundamental principles of equality and protection of minorities. These principles would be defended

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mainly by the state judiciary and would be based on the nation's constitutional principles and
international treaties.

A final and third perspective considers the "path depends on the national" and the resistance
of national traditions of citizenship and national identity as predictors of limited convergence between
countries and the lack of inclusive rights for immigrants in all countries (Brubaker 1992; Koopmans et
al. 2005). In relation to the latter approach, some scholars consider that the limited rights of immigrants
are a product of emerging right-wing populist movements pushing for more restrictive entry and strict
regulation of national borders (Norris 2005; Mudde 2007). Many of the parties in Europe that have
taken on a populist character tend to consider immigrants a factor that favours large companies for
cheaper labour and the left for handing over electoral capital (Mudde 2007).

Focusing on the literature that studies migration policy in Latin America, the first institution that
problematizes intraregional migratory flows is the Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Center,
Population Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CELADE-ECLAC).
This institution visualized the increase in intraregional migration to Chile in early 2000. Today these
movements have increased and awakened the interest of interdisciplinary academics to understand
how a newly developed country like Chile faces a new wave of immigrants. One that shows different
cultural and economic characteristics from the north-south flows that arrived in the 20th century
(Stefoni & Stang 2017).

An interesting approach to observe the migratory phenomenon in Chile is to contrast the


colonial and racial imaginaries that Chilean society still possesses. Both cultural aspects are a major
factor in the privileged position of foreign European communities in the 20th century and today may
explain the negative attitudes towards immigrants from countries with less fortune and stronger
indigenous roots (Stefoni & Stang 2017). In the case of Chile, it is yet to be studied how these cultural
aspects are linked to the political sphere. As the country has recently changed the composition of its
party system, new ideologies and political movements have found ways to institutionalize themselves
and affect legislation. The way in which emerging populist parties and the diversity of the contemporary
political arena will affect legislation on migration issues is an issue that must be understood. To this end,
this paper seeks to explore the theory based on the experiences of the OCED and also to understand
the dynamics and particular characteristics of Chile, a new host country for Latin America.

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COMMENTS:

PERO hasta aquí no has entregado antecedentes teóricos para responder a tu pregunta de por qué los
gobiernos adoptarían posiciones más abiertas/restrictivas. Por ejemplo: por qué un populista podría ser
más restrictivo???
-Es porque la ciudadanía rechaza la inmigración y eso estimula que adopte una posición que es
popular???
-Podría ser que la base de apoyo de los líderes populistas o de derecha estén en las clases
medias empobrecidas o sectores populares, que tienden a rechazar mas la inmigración que los sectores
más educados??
-O caso, es porque en la opinión pública se suele relacionar inmigrantes con crimen y
delincuencia, lo que llevaría a ciertos actores a adoptar posiciones más restrictivas???

Por otra parte las posturas aperturistas podrían deberse a:


-Posturas ideológicas pro garantistas o liberales que favorecen los derechos de las personas y
su protección.
-O puede ser de sectores que desean contratar mano de obra barata.

ES DECIR; lo que debes discutir es la literatura que podría explicar las razones que se podría tener para
tener posturas de apertura/restrictivas. Y ellas pueden ser de interés electoral, de compromiso
ideológico, o como fuente de reacción al interés de la opinión pública en ciertos temas.

Propuestas Fuentes
A. Populismos o nacionalismos de derecha
B. Cultura nacionalista
Existen encuestas que puedan medir esto?
Vinculos culturales entre las características socio-culturales de la población con el apoyo
a partidos nacionalistas
Ingleheart, valores democrarucos y valores mas tradicionales como existe dicho clivaje
entre soicedades mas europeas y latinas
C. Medios : Frecuencia de los temas en la agenda publica. Analisis de la presencia de temas y
conceptos clave en los medios. Es la agenda publica activada por los medios? Puede ser una
variable contextual que no sea abordada mucho.
Arturo Arriagada-> presencia de temas migratorios en los medios

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D. Composicion de partidos:
1. Es la ideología que conduce el interés de los actores
2. Se mueven efectivamente los partidos hacia programas que concuerden con la cultura y apoyo
nacionalista antiinmigracion
3. Funcionamiento programatio del sistema del partidos
4. Agentes racionales son mas estratégicos que ideolo
5. El proceso legislativo puede ser influenciado por la ideología o el pragmatismo
6. Merike blofield, L. Haas: proyectos de ley sobre temas de failia y políticas sociales. En temas
que no implican redistribución de recursos la ideología influye mas que en temas económicos.

Londregan -> legislative institutions and ideology in Chile (Cuan ideologico es el congreso chileno)
Jhon Carey-> Que tan ideologico es el Sistema de partidos en chile, unidad partidaria en el voto
legislativo en chile.
Guillermo rosas -> Sistema legislative chileno
Patricio navia -> Sistema de partidos elección racional

3. Migration policy in Chile

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The current law regulating immigration policy was passed in 1975 during the early years of
Pinochet's dictatorship. This legislative instrument was established by direct order of the Military
Government to regulate the access of foreigners to the country. The law is based on the concept of
National Security; its purpose was to make it difficult for immigrants to obtain permanent or temporary
residence for military and security reasons. The content of this law gives priority to the normative
aspects of legal immigration and establishes basic rules so that immigrants have the necessary
documentation to adapt to the state bureaucracy and social systems. During the transitional
governments of the 1990s, the legal system remained almost intact. The focus of the state during this
decade was to be part of international agreements on migration issues and to adjust the rights and
duties of migrants to international standards. (Stefoni 2011). The institutional framework of migration
policy was adjusted to specifically satisfy international human rights, but it did not change or move away
from its essence of being a national security against a threat:

"Durante la dictadura, se acentuó la idea de peligro en forma de terroristas


(comunistas-marxistas), mientras que actualmente esa representación se asocia, más bien, a un
problema social (bajo las imágenes del mal desarrollo-delincuente). Lo interesante es que en
todas estas narrativas encontramos un punto en la presencia de un extranjero cuya mera
presencia constituye una amenaza a la vida humana. el orden social, representación que
encuentra terreno fértil en la reproducción de estructuras de discriminación y exclusión".
(Stefoni, 2011. Pág. 82)

The current administration in the government has sent indications to a bill dating back to the
early days of Sebastián Piñera. This amended bill aims to change the current law and provide the country
with broader legislation on types of residence, regulation of illegal immigration and access to social and
economic rights. The debate that has followed this bill from its first debate on the Chamber of Deputies
to its second legislative process in the Senate involves many actors and interests at stake. The effects
that immigrants have had on the labor market can be an incentive for the government to seek a type of
legislation that discriminates between skilled and unskilled immigrants (Stefoni, 2011).

4. Research question

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- What political factors influence the "openness" or "restriction" of public migration policy in Chile?
- Which political factors have an influence on the “liberalization” or “restrictiveness” of migratory public
policy in Chile?

5. Objectives

General objective:

To identify the political factors that influence the "opening" or "restriction" of the right to migrate in
Chile.

Secondary objectives:

1. To determine the degree of openness/restrictiveness of migration policy in Chile during the last
three periods of government based on the IMPIC index.
2. Compare Chile's migration policy index with specific OECD countries.
3. Analyze the legislative debate of Sebastián Piñera's current project and determine the political
factors related to the current theory of migration policy.

COMENTARIO:
1. está muy bien escrito
2. Requieres afinar el marco teórico para mostrar el vínculo entre dichas teorías y la pregunta que
tienes (qué factores políticos inciden en una postura más o menos aperturista). Allí requieres
desarrollar más.

Nota: 5,5

6. Hypothesis

a. Hypothesis 1
b. Hypothesis 2

References

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Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), Observatorio Demográfico, 2018
(LC/PUB.2018/25-P), Santiago, 2019.

Cámara de Diputados de Chile (2019) Proyectos de Ley: Ley de migración y extranjería.

Catherine Wihtol de Wenden (2018) Migración y desarrollo, Estudios étnicos y raciales, 41:3, 431-439,
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2018.1388420

Concha Villanueva, Sebastián. (2018). Propuestas para regular las migraciones en Chile y la obstinación
del securitismo. URVIO Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios de Seguridad, (23), 110-
126. https://dx.doi.org/10.17141/urvio.23.2018.3571

Joppke, Christian (1998). Por qué los Estados liberales aceptan la inmigración no deseada. Política
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50(2): 266-293.

M. Helbling & D. Kalkum (2017) Tendencias de las políticas migratorias en los países de la OCDE. Journal
of European Public Policy, Volume 25, 2018 - Edición 12

Mudde, C. (2007). Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
doi:10.1017/CBO9780511492037

Thiollet, Hélène (2016) "Migrantes, migraciones: 50 preguntas para opinar". Armand Colin

Stefoni, C. “Ley y política migratoria en Chile. La ambivalencia en la comprensión del migrante”

Stefoni, C. & Stang, F. (2017) "La construcción del campo de estudio de la migración en Chile: Notas de
un ejercicio reflexivo y autocrítico". Íconos. Revista de Ciencias Sociales. Número 58.

Vargas, F. (2018) “Una ley de migraciones con un enfoque de derechos humanos” en “Informe anual de
derechos humanos en Chile 2018” Centro de DDHH UDP.

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