Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Miguel Centellas

Second Advisor

Oliver Dinius

Third Advisor

Susan H. Allen

Relational Format

Immigration to Chile, Threat to Immigrants

Abstract

Historically, countries often faced the difficult task of favoring one immigrant group over another. Typically, this is in response to their inability to support those immigrants due to an unstable economy. However, some scholars argue that during times of economic prosperity, excluding immigrants may be the result of the group’s incapacity to assimilate to the nation’s “cultural identity”. Since Chile’s conception as a nation and as one of the most prosperous Latin American countries, they have received notably minuscule immigration rates. As a result, Chileans prides themselves as a relatively homogeneous country. Consequently, in 2018, President Sebastián Piñera differentiated visas between Venezuelan and Haitian immigrants. The Venezuelan visa merely reiterated the general immigration requirements, while the Haitian visa significantly restricted their immigration visa. Because Haitian immigrants make up 6th largest immigrant population in Chile and maintained a low economic dependence upon the economy, this case study sought to determine whether an economic approach or “cultural identity” theory resulted in stricter immigration policies. Using a mixed research design of quantitative and qualitative analysis, the findings revealed that Chileans opinions increased negatively with the influx of immigrants, that did not coincide with the perception of their economic security. Therefore, I assess that the “cultural identity” theory is more consistent with creating stricter visa requirements for Haitian immigrants.

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