Japanese lead aliens kept out of country


The Manila Times Reporter

Japanese have topped the list of aliens barred by the Bureau of Immigration from entering the country during the first six months of 2006.

Immigration Commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr. on Monday said a total of 797 aliens were turned back at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and other ports of entry from January to June, compared with 682 who were refused entry in the first semester of 2005.

Nearly a third, or 222, of that number were Japanese nationals suspected of being Yakuza gang members. Others turned away were Chinese (99), Indians (55), Taiwanese (28), and Americans (nine).

Except for the suspected Yakuza, the other Japanese who were turned back were caught either using tampered passports, fake visas or other spurious documents.

Lawyer Gary Mendoza, chief of the immigration regulation division, said several of those barred were blacklisted aliens and former deportees who tried to slip back into the country by assuming other names or using tampered passports.

"They were immediately booked on the first available flight to their port of origin after they were issued exclusion orders by our immigration officers," Mendoza said.

BI records also showed that in the same six-month period, 1,144 departing passengers—mostly Filipinos—were barred from leaving, compared to the 1,157 who were offloaded a year ago.

Most of the offloaded were "tourist workers" or contract workers disguised as tourists and passengers whose names are on the bureau’s hold-departure list and watchlist.

Fernandez credited the rise in the excluded aliens to the BI’s campaign against human smuggling. The bureau has also adopted stricter procedures to screen arriving and departing passengers.

"We have been very vigilant in screening passengers, in line with our campaign against human traffickers and international terrorists," he said.

Immigration officers, Fernandez said, are now more adept at detecting fraudulent travel documents with the training and high-tech equipment they acquired from foreign governments, such as the United States and Australia.

Both countries are active in the global war on human trafficking and terrorism.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: