Public Security Minister Fernando Berrocal this week confirmed that the Executive Branch will ask the Legislative Assembly to delay until December 2007 the date by which the controversial new immigration law will take effect, saying the government lacks the funds necessary to implement it next month as scheduled.
He also announced that the government will form a council of representatives from rights groups, the business sector, the Catholic Church and others to discuss the possibility of changing the law, approved last year. Its measures to crack down on illegal immigrants and the people who hire them have been criticized as unduly harsh by academics, religious figures and President Oscar Arias.
Berrocal said financial concerns are the driving force behind the proposed 14-month delay.
The law would require 671 new police and other employees at Immigration, in addition to new vehicles, infrastructure and administrative reforms, at a cost of ¢7 billion ($13.7 million).
The law grants greater freedom to police to find and remove illegal immigrants, detention for an undefined length of time for suspected illegal immigrants and changes to improve the efficiency of Immigration (TT, Aug. 26, 2005).