San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Immigration officials resume arrests of undocumented foreigners

The Immigration Administration will resume the detention of foreigners suspected of being in the country illegally, as well as withholding their passports.

Last week, the government office reported that a constitutional challenge filed by several organizations supporting immigrants prevented them from apprehending foreigners suspected of being illegally in the country.

However, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, made ​​it clear that until the court rules on the legal challenge, only final decisions on immigrant status will remain paralyzed.

The challenge presented to the Sala IV charges that some paragraphs from Articles 18 and 31 of the Immigration Act – which took effect in March 2010 – are unconstitutional. These rules allow the apprehension of immigrants and seizure of travel documents.

Immigrant rights groups say the articles violate people’s fundamental rights.

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