Peru’s president on Wednesday declared a state of emergency on the country’s border and ordered the deployment of army forces to reinforce checkpoints and prevent migrants from Chile from crossing the border.

Hundreds of migrants in Chile – mainly citizens of Haiti and Venezuela, according to the UN – are trying to leave the country and have been blocked for weeks at the border between the Peruvian city of Tacna (south) and Arica in northern Chile.

As Chilean authorities tighten immigration controls, many say they want to return home or try to reach the US.

The Peruvian government had already deployed 200 police officers to bolster outpost guarding in what it said was a crackdown on cross-border crime.

On Wednesday, President Dina Bolluarte announced that army forces would be deployed to reinforce police at border posts with Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia.

“The police will guarantee control of internal public order with the support of the armed forces,” he told the press.

The government has not specified what the state of emergency entails in terms of curtailing individual rights and freedoms, nor how long the measure will last.