On July 3, under the banner of “stop separating families”, thousands of migrants demonstrated outside the office of the National Migration Directorate in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The demonstration was held to demand the abolition of an anti-immigrant decree, Decreto Necesario y Urgente (DNU) 70/2017 [Necessary and Urgent Decree] as well as an end to persecution, mistreatment and arbitrary expulsion of migrants. The demonstration was organized by the national campaign “Migrar no es delito” [Migration is not a crime].
The protesters played drums, shouted slogans and demonstrated with placards and banners with messages like: “Stop separating children from their migrant parents”, “No to persecution of migrants”, “No to mistreatment of migrants”, “No to RADEX”, “No to migrant fees”, “Extension of exemption rates”, etc.
The members of various social organizations and movements such as Barrio de Pie, the Federation of Grassroots organizations (FOB), etc. joined the migrants in their struggle.
Hash tags such as #BastaDeSepararFamilias (StopSeparatingFamilies), BastaDeExpulsionesArbitrarias (StopArbitraryExpulsions), NoALaPoliciaMigratoria (NoToMigratoryPolice), #DerogacionDelDecreto70 (AbolitionOfDecree70), #MigrarNoEsDelito (MigrationIsNotACrime), #MigrarEsUnDerecho (MigrationIsARight), etc. trended on facebook and twitter in support of migrants.
The concentration of people in large numbers outside the government office facilitated a dialogue with one of the directors of the migration authority. A group of representatives from the movement met with Carolina Di Marco. In the meeting, Marco invited the representatives to meet the authorities and discuss their demands on July 23.
The DNU 70/2017, approved by the government of President Mauricio Macri in January 2017, regulates the entry and stay of foreigners in Argentine territory. It establishes that the National Immigration Office may cancel the residence of any immigrant and order their expulsion if they have been convicted in Argentina or abroad for serious crimes as well as for other crimes that involve deprivation of liberty, such as street vending or transit infractions. The movement demands that the decree be revoked because it modifies the migration law 25,871 and poses a “regression to human rights”.
The migrants are also demanding an end to xenophobia, stigmatization and criminalization of migrants, recognition of their contribution to the Argentine society, reduction of the migratory procedure charges, withdrawal of the new online filing system RADEX, as well as the return of Vanessa Gómez Cuevas, a Peruvian migrant, who was arbitrarily deported with her 2-year-old son in the month of February, leaving her other two sons stranded.
The campaign called for the mobilization after receiving no response to their demands presented during the migrantazo held on March 13.