PUTRAJAYA: Children of illegal immigrants may not have to spend long periods of time at immigration detention centres.
This move will be among the improved standard operating procedure (SOPs) to be implemented by the Immigration Department regarding children held at its detention facilities, said its director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud.
He said the current procedure required illegal immigrants to be investigated according “to turn”, pointing out that illegal immigrants were detained daily and by large numbers.
“But now, our priority is to look at cases involving undocumented children of illegal immigrants and get their deportation orders.
“We will also seek cooperation from embassies to expedite issuance of travel documents, so that the children can be deported without delay,” he said after attending a Hari Raya event organised by the department’s operations, investigation and prosecution and legal divisions here yesterday.
There are 363 children aged 12 and below in detention centres nationwide.
Most of them are children of Indonesians, Bangladeshis and Myanmar.
On the case of two Filipino children placed in a detention centre for 20 days, Khairul Dzaimee explained that the period was still within the department’s SOP.
He said the department had the authority to remand a person for 14 days and after obtaining a deportation order, another seven days to send an illegal immigrant home. He said the children were detained on June 14 along with their guardian who had no valid documents.
“The children’s mother has a valid work permit. We made attempts to contact her and came to visit the children on June 24,” he said.
The children obtained their travel documents on June 27 and returned to the Philippines with their mother on Wednesday, he added.