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JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE BORDER 12303 KM / DAY 184 / SEPTEMBER 16, 2011 - 05:08 / LOS CHILES, COSTARICA
Los Chiles is a small, peaceful Costa Rican town, a fishermen`s paradise. Only the river separates Costa Rica from Nicaragua. With jungle on both sides, it is an ideal and easy crossing point for Nicaraguans who want to work in Costa Rica without the papers - and there are many of them. With good reason, because there is plenty of work.
I`m meeting the police who allow me to go to a checkpoint with them 40 km outside town on the road to San José. This is where all traffic is stopped and everyone`s papers are checked. When I arrive at the checkpoint it looks empty; it's Sunday morning and the policemen in charge are just waking up. In the first bus they stop they find a Nicaraguan without papers. He is questioned. After the police have collected enough people, they`re brought back to Los Chiles and deported the same day. In this tiny town, an average of thirty illegal migrants are deported daily. Most of them don`t take it too seriously. As one whispers in my ear: `We are usually back the same day.` Costa Rica needs the workers.
When I ask the police officer if it doesn`t frustrate him to see many of them back the same day, he shrugs and says, `I`m just doing my job.`
DAY 363 FINAL DESTINATION