India may face sanctions for not taking back illegal migrants

A legislation targeting India and seven other countries, which allegedly refuse to take back illegal immigrants convicted of crimes in the US has been introduced in the House of Representatives
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Updated on Apr 11, 2008 02:27 PM IST
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PTI | BySridhar Krishnaswami, Washington

A legislation targeting India and seven other countries, which allegedly refuse to take back illegal immigrants convicted of crimes in the United States has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

The Bill requires reports being sent to Congress every 90 days on the countries which inhibit repatriation that will automatically trigger denial of foreign aid as well as suspension of visa issuances to them.

The Bill, a companion to the Accountability in Immigrant Repatriation (AIR) Act of 2008 introduced last month in the US Senate, was introduced by Congressmen Charlie Dent and Michael Castle.

"Shockingly, criminal aliens (illegal migrants) who have served time in the US prisons are routinely released onto our streets after their home countries refuse to take them back," Castle said at a press conference.

"This represents a serious loop-hole in our immigration system and I believe our legislation, combined with efforts to expand border enforcement and target fraudulent identification documents, can improve security and the spending of taxpayer dollars," he added.

As of February 11, 2008, eight countries India, Laos, Iran, Eritrea, Vietnam, Jamaica, China, and Ethiopia have refused to repatriate a total of over 139,000 illegal migrants, the Congressmen said. More than 18,000 of them were convicted criminals but were released.

The AIR Act would suspend all pending visa petitions from those countries until they agree to repatriate. The legislation would also direct the State Department to withhold funds under the Foreign Assistance Act to countries that persist in this refusal.

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