Parliament approved on Monday the final draft of the government’s Illegal Immigration Law after failing last week to approve it due to the absence of the required number of MPs for voting. Five members rejected the bill and two abstained from voting.
MP Haitham Al-Hariri told Daily News Egypt that discussions on the law mainly focused on toughening the punishment on whoever assists with and facilitates the process of illegal immigration.
However, Al-Hariri said this is not the solution as he believes that criminalising the brokers is not the only solution to limiting the occurrence of illegal immigration, suggesting that the issue requires serious confrontation. He suggested improving the country’s economic situation and providing services for citizens, explaining that the reasons behind illegal immigration are due to poor conditions in the homeland.
Young Egyptian men are more likely to illegally immigrate to improve their living conditions and to find jobs with higher salaries so they can afford to start a family, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Waly said that if the parliament approved the Illegal Immigration Law, it will be the first law in the Middle East to counter the phenomenon. The minister’s comments came on Monday during the “National strategy to combat illegal immigration 2016-2020” conference held a few hours prior to the parliament’s approval of the law.
During the conference, Waly gave a speech on behalf of Prime Minister Sherif Ismail who was not able to attend. The minister began the speech saying that the flow of illegal immigrants is a big challenge for any state and that Egypt is the country receiving the most refugees. Therefore, the formation of a national committee to combat the phenomenon was necessary.
She explained that the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has made great effort to develop a strategy to combat illegal immigration over the next ten years.
Lawyer Mohamed Ibrahim from the general prosecutor’s office, responsible for drafting the law, said that the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee met with a group of border guards and investigators to hear their views regarding the issue of illegal immigration and what they think is the best way to confront the issue. He added that the committee will coordinate with the justice minister for legal recommendations on the issue.
An increase in the number of refugees in the region, due to political conflicts spreading across the Middle East and Africa, has led to an increase in illegal immigration across Egypt’s borders recently.
The majority of illegal immigrants and refugees flowing through North Africa stem from other parts of the African continent; however, the number of Egyptians illegally migrating has increased lately.