IMMIGRATION POLICY: DISCUSSION AND REFORM
Author: Hans Rathi, I year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from National Law University, Ranchi
Immigration is one of the most trending topics in the news of current times. All this is due to the number of problems created by the illegal immigrants that are flowing into our country like anything. Immigration law is the law dealing with the policies formed by a government regarding the phenomenon of immigration to their country.
Now, firstly we shall understand the meaning of the term ‘immigration’. Immigration according to oxford languages is defined as the action of shifting to a foreign nation to live permanently. In simple words, it is the process of shifting by people to a destination country of which they do not possess citizenship and are neither natives in order to gain permanent citizenship or to become naturalized.
IMMIGRATION IN INDIA
The history of immigration in India and from India has been a long one to discuss thoroughly. India is the largest migrant origin and possesses the largest migrant population in the world. The majority of this population has immigrated from Bangladesh. A vast majority of this population are unauthorized immigrants living without any legal status in India. Taking about the approximate estimates, the government in 2016 released data stating that about 20 million of the immigrant population from Bangladesh lived in India in an unauthorized way. This has led to a great number of problems contributing to the ongoing debate of irregular immigration in India. After Bangladesh, the other major immigrants coming to India are from Pakistan and other bordering countries. The history of India has a lot to do with its former part Pakistan and the formation of immigration policies to be formed with it should be in accordance with the history. Therefore, special provisions must be devised for people migrating from Pakistan and Bangladesh (former East Pakistan).
Although there may not be any specific single cause for this problem, many experts say that all this has been caused due to the direct passage to India which gets offered by the proximate borders. There are many opinions regarding the same, some say that the opposition-party-ruled states allow immigration as a soft approach just because this helps them secure Muslim votes. There emerged a series of long-lasting protests in 2019 when the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed which made it easy for non-Muslim migrants to immigrate to India. The protesters termed it a move of the ruling party to turn India into a Hindu-biased nation. Despite all these debates going on one side, it is of great need that a uniform solution should be devised to deal with this problem as it is causing a lot of trouble in the country.
Now, let us observe the existing laws regarding the matter of immigration in India. The law of the land (the constitution of India) allows single citizenship for all Indian citizens. The provisions dealing with the same are provided in Articles 5 to 11 of the Constitution of India Part II. These articles do provide help for the immigrants and guide them but after analyzing and observing the problems of the immigration level prevailing in the nation currently, there emerges a dire need for more filtered and modified express provisions dealing with the immigration policies of the government of India.
The Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, of 1950 was passed to empower the government of India to order the expulsion of the immigrants causing problems in the nation. It provided that the government could order the expulsion of any immigrant population which it deems is against the general public's interest. However, this act had not been implemented efficiently and had caused no major change in the problems occurring due to irregular migration. Also, not only Assam, but every border state of India faces the same problem, especially the state of West Bengal facing it the most.
The Immigration (Carriers’ Liability) Act, of 2000 was enacted with the objective to do away with the issue of the large number of people immigrating to India without any valid legal documents. However, the same problem emerged as the previous one which is the non-effective implementation of the act. The organization dealing with the issue of immigration in India is the Bureau of Immigration. The field officers dealing with immigration matters are known as Foreign Regional Officers (FROs).
Despite these large number of enactments being passed by the government, still there is no effective measure to control the ongoing problem of immigration in India. As a rapidly growing economy and the world’s largest migrant origin and migrant population, India should upgrade its immigration policies according to the present requirements of the time. It should do justice to the people suffering due to the immigrants and also to the people immigrating to India through a valid procedure in the hope of a bright future.