Why de­port im­mi­grants?

Par­tic­u­larly vis­i­ble and force­ful, of­ten strik­ing a sen­si­tive nerve among much of the pub­lic, is their fierce op­po­si­tion to il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

The Pak Banker - - Editorial - Joseph Chamie

vis­i­ble and force­ful, of­ten strik­ing a sen­si­tive nerve among much of the pub­lic, is their fierce op­po­si­tion to il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion. For ex­am­ple, a year af­ter vot­ing to ban minarets, Swiss vot­ers in Novem­ber ap­proved the ref­er­en­dum backed by the right-wing Swiss Peo­ple's Party for au­to­matic de­por­ta­tion of for­eign-born na­tion­als con­victed ?of crimes. Calls for in­creased de­por­ta­tion of unau­tho­rised mi­grants are re­in­forced by the global eco­nomic re­ces­sion, sever­ity of gov­ern­men­tal aus­ter­ity mea­sures and high lev­els of un­em­ploy­ment. Re­cent elec­toral gains by na­tivist par­ties at the bal­lot box have in­ten­si­fied pres­sure on lead­ers of ev­ery po­lit­i­cal stripe to re­spond to the pres­ence of il­le­gal mi­grants. Ex­ac­er­bat­ing the sit­u­a­tion are con­tin­u­ing high num­bers of peo­ple at­tempt­ing to im­mi­grate il­le­gally. For ex­am­ple, ev­ery month an es­ti­mated 10,000 men and women, most from North Africa and South Asia, cross the Greek- Turk­ish border il­le­gally.

Fu­el­ing calls for in­creased de­por­ta­tions are frus­tra­tions and dis­ap­point­ments with mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and as­sim­i­la­tion, con­tribut­ing to anti-im­mi­grant sen­ti­ments. Var­i­ous na­tional lead­ers and party of­fi­cials - most re­cently in Ger­many, the Nether­lands, Swe­den and Switzer­land - have expressed se­ri­ous doubts about the suc­cess of im­mi­grant in­te­gra­tion, es­pe­cially among those who dif­fer re­li­giously and eth­ni­cally from their host com­mu­ni­ties. Re­marks by Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, for ex­am­ple, were un­equiv­o­cal with re­gard to im­mi­gra­tion, stat­ing that at­tempts to build a mul­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety, liv­ing side by side and en­joy­ing one an­other, have ut­terly failed. Some go fur­ther, such as the leader of the Swe­den Democrats, claim­ing that the pop­u­la­tion growth of the Mus­lim im­mi­grants was the great­est for­eign threat to his coun­try since World War II.

And no doubt, the height­ened se­cu­rity con­cerns as a re­sult of past ter­ror­ist tragedies and un­cov­ered threats pro­duce ad­di­tional pres­sures to de­port il­le­gal mi­grants, par­tic­u­larly those with sus­pect lean­ings. Al­though many of those in­volved in ter­ror­ist acts were in the coun­try legally, this dis­tinc­tion has not di­min­ished pub­lic de­mands for in­creased de­por­ta­tions. Re­moval of unau­tho­rised mi­grants is of­ten a po­lit­i­cally sen­si­tive mat­ter for gov­ern­ments, es­pe­cially in the in­ter­na­tional con­text. Con­se­quently, some coun­tries, in par­tic­u­lar those that do not al­ways ob­serve due le­gal process and in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised pro­to­cols on mi­grant rights, avoid pro­vid­ing timely, ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion on mi­grants de­ported or ex­pelled. For in­stance, United Na­tions of­fi­cials es­ti­mate that last year An­gola ex­pelled 160,000 Con­golese, while the Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of Congo ex­pelled 51,000 An­golans.

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