Some of them are not criminals, just lured by glitz and glamour of foreign lands
7th July 2011: The UK Border Agency is not in favour of allowing foreign national prisoners to go back into the community once they are due for deportation.
While there can hardly be any force in the argument against their deportation from the UK, the stand may go a long way in adding to their miseries.
Some of the foreign nationals due for deportation are certainly not criminals, but lured into treading the path of illegality by the glitz and the glitter of the foreign lands. In fact, so many of them are gullible victims of circumstances, and travel agents.
It is an open secret in some of the Asian countries, India included, that the travel agents show the prospective immigrants the stars before pulling the rug from under their feet.
In India’s Punjab region, every year so many young sons of the soil sell off their lands to pay money to the travel agents, who promise them a safe passageway to the promised land, only to dupe them.
What follows is a dilemma. They can’t remain in the foreign land as their stay is illegal. They can’t go back also because they are now practically landless and it’s not easy to admit defeat after coming face to face with the native community back home.
Under the circumstances to isolate them in detention center and not to allow them to go back into the community before they are removed can only make it tougher for them. A somewhat lenient view can help them retain the sense of confidence and help in face saving. After all, illegal migrants are humans too.
Already, the courts in India are doing their bit to rescue the victims. The High Court of Punjab and Haryana High at Chandigarh had earlier asked the State to look after the “interest of poor prospective non-resident Indians, rather than confining their concern to those well-settled migrants who have already made a fortune abroad, so as to avoid repetition of Malta boat tragedy”.
The High Court had ruled that the authorities should explore the feasibility of using the print, audio or the electronic media for educating the masses about the pitfalls.
The authorities should also consider the advisability of taking steps for educating the masses after consulting the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Labour.
Possibility should also be explored to prevent the middlemen from making unwarranted profit by regulating the recruitment and letting everyone know about the demands sent by different countries for skilled and unskilled labour, the Judge had asserted.
In his detailed order, the Judge observed: “Around Christmas in 1996, the nation woke up to be told that a tragedy had occurred on the shores of Malta in which about 290 persons lost their lives in a ship wreck. Most were Indians trying to immigrate on the basis of assurances by persons indulging in illegal manpower export to foreign lands which provided better livelihood. Twenty-two immigrants survived to tell the tale”.
The Judge further ruled: “Human memory being short, the magnitude of the tragedy has been lost with the passage of time and the promise of El-Dorado’s abroad still continues to allure innocent villagers from this part of the country to use their entire savings for handing them over to persons promising valid papers for immigration.
“Some immigrants achieve their goal on account of good luck, majority lose money and end up in prisons abroad.
“The magnitude of such betrayal of faith can be gauged from the fact that over a period of one month, more than 50 applications for anticipatory bail have been filed by the wrongdoers for seeking protection against interrogation at the hands of the police….”
The UKBA assertion on their direct removal came soon after the opening of a new short term holding centre in Larne to assist with the removal of illegal immigrants from Northern Ireland.
The UKBA asserted: `Larne House gives us the ability to detain people in Northern Ireland while their removal from the UK is being organised. It also ensures that foreign national prisoners due for deportation are not allowed back into the community before they are removed.’
Just the previous year more than 16,500 people were removed from the UK directly from removal centres.