Police Chief Highlights High Cost of Illegal Immigration
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s Police Chief Brigadier General Esmail Ahmadi Moqaddam said on Monday Iran is hosting large numbers of illegal immigrants, adding that they impose high social and economic costs on the country.
“Presently more than 1.3 million legal immigrants live in Iran, most of whom are Afghan citizens, while each day 1000 illegal immigrants are deported by Iranian police forces,” he said on the sidelines of an Interpol regional operational conference on campaign against human trafficking.
He said that arresting the illegal immigrants and deporting them, which requires transportation and temporary accomodation, incurs huge costs on the Iranian police force and the country in general.
Brigadier General Ahmadi Moqaddam said that the presented statistics does not include the illegal immigrants who are spotted at the border point and deported to their country.
“Some of the expenses for temporary residence of the illegal immigrants, including the camps that are set up for them, are covered by the Iranian Interior Ministry and there have also been some contributions by the UN agency on refugees (UNHCR) to that ministry, but the police have thus far received no help from the international organizations,” he said.
The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to host one of the largest refugee populations in the world, according to the latest UNHCR report.
While the police chief puts the figure of legal immigrants at 1.3 million, the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants' Affairs (BAFIA) puts the total number of refugees registered with the authorities at some 882,700, including some 840,200 Afghans and 42,500 Iraqis.
Close to 3,500 Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR are awaiting a decision from the authorities on their legal status. Most refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran reside in urban areas, with only 3 percent living in settlements.
Between January 2002 and July 2012, UNHCR assisted some 902,000 Afghan refugees to return home voluntarily.
Some 28,000 Iraqi refugees have also been assisted to return home since 2003. In May 2012, an international stakeholders' conference endorsed the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees presented by the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, and facilitated by UNHCR.