Peru sends military to Chile border to block undocumented migrants
Some 700 Peruvian soldiers and police officers will reinforce its southern border with Chile to prevent the entry of undocumented migrants, Peruvian authorities said on Friday, amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries over the issue.
Hundreds of migrants are stranded at the border, including mostly undocumented Venezuelans, according to the Peruvian police. The migrants say they are seeking to enter Peru to continue their journey back home.
Interior Minister Vicente Romero told local radio station RPP that some 390 police officers have already arrived at the border and 300 more soldiers will arrive from different parts of the country to join the surveillance mission.
"We are not going to allow any illegal entry, or attacks on the police," he added.
The Peruvian government declared a state of emergency on its borders this week to pave the way for joint operations between the military and the police to stop migrants, in a tightening of its immigration policy.
The government has threatened that foreigners without the proper paperwork could be expelled.
The Peruvian Foreign Ministry summoned the Chilean ambassador in Peru to voice its frustration this week, alleging a lack of Chilean support. The Chilean Foreign Ministry said it had expressed "discomfort" over criticism of President Gabriel Boric by a Peruvian mayor.
Some 1.5 million Venezuelans live in Peru, most of whom have entered since 2017 when the country granted a temporary residence permit. Many have not formalized their status, according to official data.
There are also an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 undocumented migrants in Peru, which has a total population of 33 million.