San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Amnesty Looks Unlikely For Nicaraguan Immigrants

The Foreign Ministry says Costa Rica “is not in a state to consider” amnesty for illegal immigrants, despite a Nicaraguan diplomat’s comment that he plans to lobby for such a measure here.

Harold Rivas, the newly appointed Nicaraguan Ambassador to Costa Rica, told reporters following his swearing-in ceremony in Managua Feb. 20 that he intends to “make (Costa Rican authorities) understand that Nicaraguans are a labor force that’s convenient for them,” and work toward amnesty for illegal laborers who’ve spent years in Costa Rica, according to the daily Al Día.

Asked about Rivas’ comments, the Foreign Ministry released a statement saying no official request for amnesty had been made, but that it’s not really a possibility.

“Costa Rica has already had three amnesty regimes for people of other nationalities who’ve entered Costa Rican territory in an irregular or illegal manner,” the statement said. The most recent of these took place in 1999 and allowed approximately 152,000 Central Americans, 97% of whom were Nicaraguans, to obtain residency.


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