San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Parties Scramble to Delay Immigration Law

With Costa Rica’s new Immigration Law scheduled to take effect tomorrow, Legislative Assembly members attempted this week to move forward on a bill that would delay the law until December 2007.

At press time, it appeared that the bestcase scenario for supporters of the bill, according to the daily La Nación, was that legislative faction leaders, in a meeting scheduled for noon yesterday, would agree to bypass the normal regulations facing the bill and send it straight to the assembly floor for a vote in first debate tomorrow.

Should it be approved in first debate, legislators would be able to submit doubts about its constitutionality to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV), which would then have a month to rule on the questions raised.

If no legislators do this, however, the assembly could vote on the bill in second debate as soon as next week.Most legislators reportedly favor the delay measure.

Even if the bill takes effect tomorrow as planned, it appears the General Immigration Administration will do little to enforce it.

The Executive Branch maintains it doesn’t have the funds for the new personnel and infrastructure the law requires, and submitted the bill to delay the law to the assembly late last month.

Immigration Director Mario Zamora has said the law is “impossible” to enforce as is (TT, Aug. 4).


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