By Nissar Hoath, Gulf News, 8, October 2006
Abu Dhabi: The phenomenon of immigrants sneaking into the country and staying illegally is on the increase.
According to Interior Ministry reports, not a single day passes without the arrest and deportation of illegal immigrants across the country.
The ministry yesterday said that 408 illegal immigrants were arrested last month. They were arrested from various border and coastal areas while trying to sneak into the country illegally.
"Security agencies from the Interior Ministry apprehended 408 infiltrators from September 1 to 30 while trying to cross into the country," a ministry announcement said yesterday.
The statement further added that the arrests were made during operations against illegal immigrants with the cooperation of law-abiding citizens and expatriate residents in the country.
The ministry also called upon UAE national and expatriate residents to continue their cooperation to help end the phenomenon which might become a security problem for the country.
"Those who patronise, protect and provide shelter to these illegal immigrants will be charged for serious criminal offences and punished according to the law," the ministry warned.
According to a source at the ministry, Abu Dhabi's Al Sadr Prison in Al Taweelah has received and deported more than 100,000 illegal immigrants since January.
He said 100 to 200 illegal immigrants are brought to the prison from across the country for deportation daily.
"These people are arrested from different parts of the country and brought here for deportation. On a daily basis, we deport no less than 100 of these illegal immigrants," he said.
The source further added that the majority of the illegal immigrants, who are arrested for infiltration, are from Afghanistan, followed by Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshis. The Afghans pay large sums of money to human smugglers in their country, Pakistan and Iran to reach Gulf countries by sea.
"It is a big problem. I would say these illegal immigrants eat into the ministry's budget. Lots of money is spent on their welfare in prison and deportation," he added.
He aid in addition to Al Sadr, illegal immigrants are also kept in prisons in other emirates and deported from there.
According to ministry reports, 300 to 500 illegal immigrants are arrested from different parts of the country every month.