"Ongoing Process", Says Government, Asked On Data Of Illegal Immigrants

The government informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

New Delhi:

Illegal Immigrants enter India in a "clandestine and surreptitious manner" and that their detection, detention and deportation is an "ongoing process", the government said in parliament today to a question on whether it as a record of the number of illegal immigrants in the country.

"Illegal Immigrants enter into the country without valid travel documents in a clandestine and surreptitious manner. Detection, detention and deportation of such illegally staying foreign nationals is an ongoing process," Minister of State (Home) Nityanand Rai informed the Rajya Sabha.

Over 19 lakh people were left out of the final citizens' list or the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that was published in August last after a mammoth years-long exercise to check illegal immigration from neighbouring Bangladesh. The centre has said people whose names didn't appear in the NRC cannot be declared foreigners till all legal options are exhausted.

Telangana MP Dr Banda Prakash had asked the Union Home Ministry to clarify if it has a record of number of illegal immigrants in the country and had also sought details on the numbers.

The ministry, however, chose to ignore specific question and a gave a generic response, stating that it the centre has been vested with powers under various sections of the law to "detain and deport foreign nationals staying illegal in the country".

The final list of the NRC is still gathering dust as the Assam government has refused to acknowledge it, stating that there are discrepancies in the list. The citizens' list has immense significance for the people of Assam as the state witnessed a six-year-long movement between 1979 to 1985 seeking detection and deportation of illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

Assembly elections in Assam are scheduled to take place in April next year.