Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons
The constitution provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights.
The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers, and other persons of concern.
Local NGOs continued to express concern that government reforms to immigration law, passed in January 2017, introduced barriers to migrant admission, complicated obtaining legal residency, accelerated deportation procedures, and restricted access to citizenship.
On June 30, the National Migration Office reported 70,000 Venezuelan migrants arrived in the country over the first semester of the year, constituting 25 percent of total residence permits granted by immigration authorities, an increase of 320 percent over 2016.
PROTECTION OF REFUGEES
Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. Decisions on asylum petitions may take up to two years to adjudicate.
The National Migration Office reported that under a humanitarian visa program for Syrians inaugurated in 2016, as of the end of 2017, authorities had resettled 318 Syrians in the country.