74 Illegal Immigrants Held in Surprise Raid in Abu Dhabi

The movement of people across countries is very much a fact of modern life. International migration is instrumental in decreasing the distance between different cultures and people. Yet, in the contemporary period of global terrorism and ethno-religious violence, migrants can also be the source of tremendous anxiety. This week in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, immigration squads carried out extensive raids at venues known to harbor undocumented workers from several different countries. Public security authorities said some of the foreigners were women engaged in "immoral activities" and thanked the cooperative citizens who tipped them off to the workers' locations. – YaleGlobal

74 Illegal Immigrants Held in Surprise Raid in Abu Dhabi

Muawia E. Ibrahim
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

ABU DHABI - Immigration squads arrested 74 foreigners, including 64 women, mostly absconding from their employers, an official source at the Abu Dhabi Naturalisation and Residence Department (ADNRD) said.

The source said the offenders were arrested on Monday in a massive surprise raid on a number of residential buildings in the capital's suburbs including Shahama, Rahba, Bani Yas and other areas in the Emirate.

After immigration authorities have intensified their crackdown on illegal immigrants, many of those staying in the country illegally opted to stay in remote areas and suburbs of the city. However, the far-reaching hand and vigilant eye of the authorities have left no stone unturned to trace offenders.

A three-level operation has been stepped up including daily inspection raids to crack down on illegal workers at shops, companies and establishments, inspection raids on residential units of illegal immigrants, and large-scale central raids on suspected locations which immigration authorities receive information that they provide shelter to illegals such as farms, company labour camps, workshops and factories.

The source said those arrested in Monday's operation also included women who were found to be overstaying in the country on expired visit visa. Most of these stayed for long time after expiry of their visa. After several operations conducted in recent months, the police have reported that many of the women arrested in these raids were mostly indulging in immoral activities.

The official said the arrested offenders who were of different nationalities were referred to the authorities concerned for legal action. Offenders are prosecuted as per the Federal Law No. 13 for 1996, which stipulates tough penalties.

The raids were conducted by a team led by officers from the Follow-Up and Investigation Department, in cooperation with teams from the Security Affairs Department at the General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police, the source said.

He said under the directions of Lt-General Dr Saeed Al Badi, Minister of Interior, and Maj-General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, the raids would be intensified in the next days to stamp out illegal immigrants.

The official thanked all citizens and residents who cooperated with the security agencies by giving tip-offs regarding the places used as shelter by illegal immigrants.

© 2003 Khaleej Times