A very useful Editorial from Pagina Siete:
Regularization of aliens
The Government has taken a positive step in recent days on the situation of foreigners who do not have papers to reside legally in the country. President Evo Morales and his Cabinet signed a decree giving them six months to regularize their situation by means of a procedure that has been released recently.
Foreigners without papers must submit 10 documents, in addition to paying Bs980 for children less than 16 years old and Bs2,000 for people older than that age, to start the procedure. Then an additional payment of Bs450 will be required for each foreigner ID issued.
First we must say that several of the 10 requirements are unnecessary, wish that there had been less requirements; the same with respect to the payment, the amounts required are very high, especially for large families, which could pay up to Bs10,000 for their regularization in the country. [current legal exchange rate is Bs6.96 per American dollar]
All in all, this is a decision that will be welcomed. Foreigners in Bolivia represent one of the sectors most likely to receive pressure and suffer exactions and be blackmailed by police authorities, migration and others. Their rights are not respected and that is why they are a vulnerable group. Not only is it in Bolivia, but in many countries of the world, especially in the more developed.
For this reason, the provision to adopt a system of regularization which, although cumbersome, can be met, is something that should be highlighted. All people should be able to prevail their rights, among them, obviously the foreigners. Their contribution to the development of Bolivia is also evident. The migrants usually work harder than locals because of their psychology, having left their countries of origin, is to succeed and to avoid a return to their places from where they left, because that would be seen as a “failure”.
This is a triumph for groups that fight in Bolivia for the rights of foreigners, as well as international organisations working on this issue. Bolivians who live abroad, will also be favored by this decision, without papers abroad, because the countries that host them will be a decision in the right way, in Bolivia.
Simple administrate measures, such as the one mentioned here, with clear requirements and criteria, can change the lives of thousands of people (6,000 foreigners without papers, according to estimates) who live in the country and, above all, to create a precedent to prevent injustices to take place and a violation of their rights.
Foreigners in Bolivia represent one of the sectors most likely to receive pressures, suffer exactions, abuse and even be blackmailed.