© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chile’s President Gabriel Boric attends an activity in the town of Limache in Valparaiso, Chile January 10, 2023. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile’s President Gabriel Boric said on Wednesday that the government will strengthen border security in the north in an effort to reduce the flow of unauthorized immigration.

In addition to infrastructure and surveillance improvements, Boric said his government will carry out “intense” diplomatic activity with Bolivia and Venezuela to receive deported citizens.

“The administrative procedures to be able to carry out expulsion procedures are very cumbersome,” Boric said, adding that the current system is a major obstacle in deporting foreigners that commit crimes.

“Our priority is to protect the border to ensure migration that is regular, safe and orderly and that also meets the needs of the country,” Boric told reporters during a visit to Colchane, a highland town on the border with Bolivia.

Since the end of February, more than 600 soldiers have been deployed in the north to work with the police in immigration control.

Boric said planned improvements to the Colchane border complex include new thermal cameras and a satellite communication system “to double the remote detection capacity and monitor areas currently not controlled.”

The improvements will be extended to six other observation points, including the Arica region that borders Peru. 

The leftist president, who has hardened his discourse against irregular immigration, said the announced measures also seek to combat criminal organizations that commit crimes involving human trafficking, drug trafficking and weapons.

Earlier, in an interview with local radio, Boric said that “at the beginning of April we are going to have a meeting with different friendly presidents of Latin America with AMLO, with Alberto Fernandez, with Xiomara Castro, with Gustavo Petro, with Luis Arce, where one of the topics that we are going to deal with is precisely this”, but did not give more details.

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