Commissioners: Francisco Eguiguren, James L. Cavallaro, Paulo Abrao, E. Abi-Mershed Petitioners: Immigrants’ rights organizations and anti-racism organizations in Argentina State: Argentina In response to rising drug-related crime, Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri and his center-right government issued a new order in January 2017 to restrict immigration, particularly from the northern border countries of Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia. The new order prohibits foreign citizens with criminal convictions from entering into Argentina and expedites deportation of foreigners accused of committing a crime, even if they have not been convicted. Foreigners who commit “malicious” crimes will be deported and barred from returning for eight years. One Argentinian congressman from a northern province, Alfredo Olmedo, has voiced his agreement with President Donald Trump’s statements on curtailing immigration to the United States and has also proposed building a wall along the border with Bolivia to block new immigrants. These developments sparked condemnation from the Bolivian foreign ministry, which claimed the order was based on xenophobia rather than fact. These new developments prompted the IACHR to call Monday’s session. Those present to testify in opposition to the new laws included representatives from Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, Comisión Argentina para Refugiados y Migrantes, Instituto Argentino para la Igualdad, Diversidad e Integración, Unión de Colectividades de Inmigrantes de Córdoba, and Red Nacional de Líderes Migrantes en Argentina. The immigration organizations representatives began by emphasizing their concern that changes in immigration laws will have severe negative consequences on immigrants and other foreigners already residing within Argentina. The law could split up families, which are seen as central to Argentine society.  Additionally, implementation of quicker deportation proceedings leaves immigrants with less time to seek legal assistance and develop an adequate defense. The representatives were also concerned that the new laws would be a greater detriment to impoverished foreigners living in Argentina.  They cited lack of access to legal assistance due to cost as particularly affecting poor immigrants, as well as baseless societal criminalization of poor immigrants as a whole. The representative from the Instituto Argentino para la Igualdad, Diversidad e Integración was especially concerned about the law’s exacerbating effect on institutional and structural racism, particularly against African and Afro-descendant immigrants. He cited pervasive police violence against Africans and expressed concern that current problems with profiling and xenophobia will grow under the new immigration laws. Argentinian government representatives included the Secretary of Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism, the Director of National Immigration, the Sub-director of National Immigration, and the General Director of Immigration.  They began by speaking to Argentina’s history of welcoming immigrants from all over the world and emphasized a national respect for diversity of people and culture. They then laid out ten guarantees for immigrants under new and future immigration law, which include the right to an independent and impartial judge for all hearings, the right to be notified of any court decisions, the right to appeal, and the right to access consular assistance. They concluded by reiterating that Argentina develops its own laws based on its national needs and does not model itself after other states. The Commissioners emphasized that the IACHR needs to pay special attention to the theme of immigration, and that it needs more information about Argentina’s particular situation. They specifically asked the government to explain why there is such urgency in expanding immigration laws, and to reflect on whether the recent changes are overbroad and unnecessary. They also asked for information on the types of people that choose to immigrate to Argentina and why. Author’s Analysis: As a member of the United Nations, Argentina is bound by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 9 of the Declaration states, “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” As a State Party to the United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, Argentina is bound by Article 16, which protects migrant workers and their families individually and collectively from arbitrary detention. In implementing its new immigration policies, Argentina risks violating both Conventions, as rising xenophobia will likely lead to arbitrary arrest, detention, and deportation of immigrants, whether or not they committed a crime in accordance with the order. Moreover, by expediting deportation of those accused of committing crimes before they are found guilty, the law may infringe on immigrants’ due process rights protected under Article XXVI of the Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. Linking immigrants to a rise in crime will likely fuel extrajudicial xenophobic attacks, which threaten the entire immigrant community. Rising anti-immigrant rhetoric and the implementation of anti-immigrant laws will only serve to endanger Argentina’s vulnerable immigrant population.