Immigrant Children in Chile: Violence, Rights and Agency

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Iskra PAVEZ, Universidad Bernardo O'Higgins, Chile
Caterine GALAZ, Universidad de Chile, Chile
This presentation presents results of FONDECYT study about immigrant children in Chile. Based on a mixed methods and child-centred approach, this presentation discusses institutional and experiential aspects of right and agencyt regarding violence, discrimination and racism. We first review quantitative data from the state regarding the immigrant children in Chile. We also present qualitative data from interviews with immigrant children between ages six to seventeen, and we interview to theirs parents and social workers. We attend to how they negotiate their rights and agency in front of violece, discrimination and racism.

Transnational migration in Chile has only in the past decade grown more diverse, visible, and in unprecedented rates and numbers, thus provoking national debates and policy changes in recent years. In 2014, there were approximately 411,000 foreign persons in the country, or 2.3% of the total population (Rojas and Silva 2016: 10). The majority of recent migrants come from other South American and Caribbean countries facing political and/or economic and natural crises, such as Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and Haiti. Today, many migrants in Chile do not only suffer symbolic violence due to racial discrimination (Pavez-Soto 2012; Tijoux and Cordova 2015), but also confront structural discrimination and abuse in the labour, property, and rental market. Migrants tend to command lower wages in informal work sectors (Stefoni et al. 2017), and pay higher rents with poorer living conditions (Rojas and Silva 2016: 37). Processes of racial exclusion to labour and residential access constitute new symbolic and material challenges that effects the reclusion of migrant families to particular neighbourhoods and jobs (Margarit and Bijit 2014). In a public survey, 19.2% disapproved of migrants children’ access to social rights; such hostility is more intense in Santiago than other parts of the country (CEN-OPCION 2012: 33-35).