WION Edit: Detention of illegal immigrants a political hot potato

DelhiWritten By: WIONUpdated: Feb 01, 2020, 06:12 PM IST

A file photo of migrants. Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

Donald Trump rose to power by giving his voice to an issue that most politicians were silent about.

The issue of immigration is a global political hot potato. In America, President Donald Trump is building a wall to keep Mexicans and Central Americans out.

Europe is troubled by the influx of African migrants. Britain has wrapped up its exit from the European Union. Even there, the free movement of people was perhaps the biggest sticking point.

And here in India, we are in the middle of a national debate on illegal immigrants triggered by a new Citizenship Law. 

Talking about the United States, a 30-foot high portion of Trump's wall along the US-Mexico border blew over in high winds yesterday.

In more ways than one, this incident personifies what's wrong with Trump's agreements on immigration, high on rhetoric and low on substance.

WATCH: Detention camps: Inhumane, but inevitable

While America might have tightened its border checks, Trump has failed to keep the numbers in check. American borders still remain porous in some areas.

In fact, the tougher rules are leading to more deaths at the borders. Last year in August, more than 500 deaths were reported from America and almost half of them were recorded at the US-Mexico border.

Poor execution aside, the argument has merit - illegal immigration is a legitimate concern. Trump rose to power by giving his voice to an issue that most politicians were silent about.

Native Americans were concerned about illegal immigrants, but nobody except Trump was willing to say it.

It's a pitch that India's Prime minister Narendra Modi has been able to successfully replicate. The BJP's pitch to battle illegal migration has found a connect.

But, has the government exaggerated the crisis? The numbers from the census throw up some trends. In America and other major countries of Western Europe, the immigration rate, the share of the immigrant population is around 10-15 per cent.

Reportedly, in India, the immigration rate is less than one per cent. Irrespective of what the numbers suggest, India is expected to escalate its crackdown on illegal immigrants.

Reports say that last year, the Centre asked the states to build at least one detention centre to house illegals. But, as the recent anti-CAA protests have shown, such moves have triggered anxieties.

About a year, the idea of detention centres and pictures from the US- Mexico border triggered major outrage. Prison like facilities, where children were separated from their families.

Detention centres around the world are not much different - Canada, Germany and Australia too have been criticised for keeping detainees in inhumane conditions. Reportedly, the Indian government already has 10 detention centres.

India must tread cautiously on this issue because any step that we take, will face the scrutiny of the world.

(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)