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Costa Rica plans to regularize status of 200,000 Nicaraguan migrants 

Many Nicaraguans are fleeing political repression and human rights abuses of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega

August 11, 2022 5:52am

Updated: August 11, 2022 11:31am

Costa Rica is working on a plan to regularize the status of around 200,000 migrants, which mostly come from Nicaragua, authorities told Reuters on Wednesday. 

According to Costa Rica’s migration head, Marlen Luna, the plan will formally allow migrants to join the country’s job market and the healthcare system. 

The plan is not yet complete and Costa Rican officials are in the midst of studying how to implement the plan. Once completed, it needs the final approval from President Rodrigo Chaves. 

Costa Rica has seen a large influx of migrants from neighboring Nicaragua, which is undergoing a political and economic crisis. 

Many Nicaraguans are fleeing political repression and human rights abuses after Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega won a fourth consecutive term in office. The elections, however, have been criticized by many as being a sham after the president arrested more than 46 opposition leaders and six other presidential candidates.  

Additionally, Daniel Ortega’s government has been relentlessly cracking down on NGOs and groups, viewing them as opposed to the regime. This year alone, Nicaragua has closed more than 200 institutions already and has announced that an additional 100 other groups might also be shut down. 

Last year, Nicaraguan migrants who were seeking asylum in Costa Rica reached a record of 60,000. However, migration officials believe the figure can increase to up to 80,000 this year. 

"We are preparing a plan in response to our inability to handle this extreme number of requests," Luna said, adding that it usually takes the government nine years to process asylum requests.