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Detention centres for illegal migrants

Topics Covered: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

Detention centres for illegal migrants

What to study?

For Prelims: What are detention centres? How they are setup?

For Mains: Concerns related to overcrowding, measures needed.

Context: Detention Centres for illegal migrants have been at the centre of a political debate as the government and the opposition parties trade charges over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Registry for Citizens.

What are detention centres?
They are places designated to keep illegal migrants (people who have entered a country without necessary documents) once they are detected by the authorities till the time their nationality is confirmed and they are deported to the country of their origin.

Does India have detention centres?
Yes, there are 6 detention centres in Assam. The combined capacity of these temporary centres is 1000, but the centres are overcrowded.

How were the detention centres set up in Assam?
Detention centres were set up in Assam after the Union government authorized the state to do so under the provisions of Section 3(2)(e) of the Foreigners’ Act, 1946 and Para 11(2) of the Foreigners Order, 1948.

A detailed manual on ‘model detention centres’ has been circulated to all the states.

As per the manual:

  1. States require no specific approval from the Centre to set up these centres.
  2. These centres should be setup outside the jail premises.
  3. Their numbers and size should be decided by the states keeping in view the actual number of foreigners to be housed as well as the progress in deportation proceedings.

Why are detention camps in focus now?
The issue has come into focus amid talks of a nation-wide NRC, especially after the process in Assam identified a little over 19 lakh people without proper citizenship documents in the state.

Sources: the Hindu.