Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Susan Berger, Ph.D.


This thesis explores the political context of Chile’s current immigration laws and policies, tracing changes through the dictatorship of the late 20th century, the transition to democracy in 1991, and up through the current administration. Using the backdrop of the Venezuelan migrant crisis, focus is given to specific stipulations of current policies and the impact they have on arriving migrants. A comparison with neighboring Argentina highlights key differences in policy reactions and is used to argue that a new constitution is needed in Chile in order to effectively respond to the arrival of over 250,000 Venezuelan migrants. Lastly, consideration is given to the current protests in Chile and how a constitutional referendum, planned for April 2020, represents a unique opportunity for Chile to amend its immigration policies. This thesis argues that Chile’s 1980 Constitution and the reigning immigration policy, Decree Law 1.094 of 1975, are inherently authoritarian and antiquated pieces of legislation that prevent sensible and human rights-based immigration reform in Chile.