Illegal migration is one of the major internal security challenges for India.

Question – How illegal migration is one of the major internal security challenges for India. Discuss the existing legal framework to deal with this problem. – 18 September 2021


India has been witness to immigration since independence. Those who have faced religious and political persecution, economic and social discrimination, cultural repression and restrictions on individual liberty have made India their home. Out of all the types of migration, illegal migration has become the most controversial issue in Indian politics today. This has given rise to many socio-political conflicts. Illegal migration involves people crossing a country’s national borders who violate the immigration laws of the destination country.

Illegal migrant is a person who enters or resides in a country for the purpose of employment, education or other interests without permission and necessary documents.

Problems arising out of illegal migration in India:

  • Conflicts due to insecurity: Illegal migration has given rise to periodic conflicts between the citizens of India and migrants, causing loss of both life and property, and thereby infringing on their constitutional rights.
  • Political instability in the country: Conflicts between local people and migrants over scarce resources, economic opportunities and cultural dominance, as well as the mobilization of popular popular revolt against migrants by the elite to grab political power, results in political instability.
  • Law and order disturbances: The law and integrity of the country is undermined by illegal migrants by people who indulge in illegal and anti-national activities. Such as secretly entering the country, fraudulently obtaining identity cards, exercising the right to vote in India and resorting to cross-border smuggling and other crimes.
  • Human Trafficking: Recent decades have seen a significant increase in the incidence of human trafficking in women and across borders.
  • Rise of extremism: Frequent attacks against Muslims perceived as illegal immigrants have given way to bigotry.

Existing Legal Framework in India:

  • Article 51 states that the state shall endeavor to promote respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized people with one another. According to the Citizenship Act 1955, an illegal immigrant can:
  • foreign nationals who enter India on valid travel documents and stay beyond its validity, or
  • Foreign nationals who enter without valid travel documents.
  • The Citizenship Act, 1955: It lays down the procedure for acquisition and determination of Indian citizenship. In addition, the Constitution has provided the right of citizenship to overseas citizens of India, non-resident Indians and persons of Indian origin.
  • The Foreigners Act, 1946, empowers the central government to deport a foreign national.
  • Foreigners Registration Act, 1939: Registration under FRRO is a mandatory requirement under which all foreign nationals (except foreign nationals of India) are required to come to India on long term visa (more than 180 days) within 14 days of their arrival in India. For this purpose it is necessary to register yourself with the registering officer. Pakistani nationals visiting India are required to register within 24 hours of arrival, regardless of the period of their stay.
  • Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920: This act empowered the government to make rules for persons entering India to retain their passports. It also empowers the government to deport from India any person who enters without a passport.

It is the duty of the state to work for the rights of the citizens of its state in general and human beings in particular. India has also voted affirmatively to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms rights for all individuals, citizens and non-citizens alike. Thus, it is important to tackle the issue of illegal migration very carefully in order to work towards human rights.


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