Illegal Immigration Department says it needs more money to combat swelling human tide
By Jamal Adel
The Illegal Immigration Department says it has deported as many as 50,000 illegal immigrants this year, but lack of funding has prevented them from doing their job well.
“There are 22 detention centres across the country, though I wouldn’t say they are worthy to be called ‘centres’. In reality, they are merely buildings used to contain the illegal immigrants after they’ve been captured,” spokesperson for the Illegal Immigration Department Saeed Ashour told the Libya Herald.
“The detention centres we’re using are not equipped to house illegal immigrants. For example, in Sabratha, we’re being forced to use a school to house some of them,” Ashour explained.
Some illegal immigrants are deported immediately, especially if they are Sudanese or Egyptian.
“Sometimes, we deport Sudanese and Egyptian illegal immigrants immediately because it is easy to do so using Buraq Airways, headquartered at Matiga Air Base. For other African immigrants, it is more difficult because there is no affordable airlift available. To send them back requires a lot of money that we simply don’t have,” Ashour added.
“Because we don’t have the money to pay the carriers, they’ve stopped working for us. The result is that we have overcrowding at the detention centres,” Ashour added.
The department says it is is receiving some help from other organisations.
“The Ministry of Heath, the Ministry of Labour and the Red Crescent are all working in cooperation with us and have done a fairly good job,” Ashour conceded.
Because this issue also affects the European countries, the government of Libya has asked the EU for much-needed assistance in this matter. The Libyan Acting Minister of Interior Saleh Mazegh has even gone so far as to threaten the EU with allowing the illegal immigrants to pass through to Europe if the EU does not offer assistance to Libya in combating this problem.
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