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  HOME | Argentina

Argentines without Papers Living “Invisible” Lives

BUENOS AIRES – They have names and they are Argentine, but they live “invisible” lives in their native land.

They were not registered at birth and that makes it difficult for them to get an identity document and get access to the most basic rights, relegating them to poverty in their day-to-day lives.

“My life is like nothing. I’d like to have a document because I have eight kids and I don’t earn anything, nobody helps me. Only my husband helps,” said Miriam Esteche, 31, a resident of the Flores neighborhood in Buenos Aires, one of the poorest areas in the Argentine capital.

This young woman cannot open a bank account, and doesn’t officially figure as the mother of her children. She doesn’t have a work permit and receives no aid from the state.

Estimates are that there are some 400,000 people like her – 1 percent of the population – who generally come from disadvantaged backgrounds and were not registered by their parents when they were born.

But they are “so invisible” that they don’t even appear in the population surveys, Alejandra Martinez, an attorney for the Argentine Microjustice Foundation, one of three non-governmental organizations that have joined forces to counsel these people, told EFE.

If the 40-day period within which newborns must be registered has elapsed, Argentine law allows minors up to age 12 to be registered via an administrative procedure. But once people are older than 12, it would be necessary to undertake a judicial process that could take years.

Since there is no person “more vulnerable” than one who doesn’t have an ID document, the initiative #IndocumentadxsCERO is now under way to facilitate the procedures for people without the DNI national ID document to acquire a legal identity with the help of state representatives and civil organizations.

 

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