Differentiate between legal and illegal migration or risk hurting immigrants who follow the law while benefiting criminal human trafficking networks, India has told the UN.
India's Deputy Permanent Representative Tanmaya Lal said on Monday that the global compact on migration being negotiated was tinted by a focus on illegal immigration in some countries.
"This is unfortunate, since this negative narrative is not at all helpful and, in fact, hurts the genuine interests and concerns of regular, legal migrants whose ongoing contribution to both their host and origin countries is well-documented but risks being ignored," he said at a session of the intergovernmental negotiations on the global compact on migration that is to be adopted in December in Marrakesh, Morocco.
"It needs to be stressed and made clear that this category of (illegal) migrants cannot be treated at par under national laws with the legal migrants," he said.
Blurring the distinctions between the regular migrants and the "numerically far fewer irregular migrants can only disadvantage the larger interests of regular migrants and even incentivise irregular migration," he added.
Criminal networks are involved in illegal migration and agencies of all the countries should cooperate to defeat the challenge they pose, Lal said.
Several activist organisations, some international leaders and, even, some arms of the UN have tried to remove distinctions between the categories of legal and illegal immigrants and refugees creating chaos in some places and attempting to limit the rights of some countries to observe their laws.
Some of this sentiment has coloured the debates on immigration at the UN and seeped into the draft global compact.
Lal said that the global compact draft provides too much attention to "what rights the irregular migrants should be entitled to" and it must, instead, "focus more on how to facilitate regular migration."
It should be reworked to "highlight the overwhelming positive contribution of international migration upfront in the document and be provided adequate space in the text", he suggested.
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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