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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawImmigration Raids in Thailand: Human Rights Issues Discussed

Immigration Raids in Thailand: Human Rights Issues Discussed

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing immigration raids yet again on this channel. Since the time that this channel was formed, we have had this sort of overdrive commence with respect to immigration enforcement activities and as a result we have seen a number of immigration raids nationwide here in the Kingdom. The immigration enforcement apparatus seems very keen to go ahead and round up various over stayers, illegal entrants, etc. and criminals also. In fact, I really think Immigration Police view this as an extension of just general law enforcement at this point and in doing so I think that it is probably pretty likely we are not going to see this desist anytime soon.

So a couple of updates with respect to this matter sort of generally. Going back to August 3rd, 2018, Bangkok Post article titled: “62 Foreigners Nabbed in Latest Outlaw Tourist Sweep”. Quoting directly "62 foreign nationals were detained in the latest police “outlaw tourists” raid early on Friday morning which this time targeted 75 locations across the country". Quoting further, "Police Major General Surachate said the raids were the 19th phase of Operation X-ray Outlaw Foreigner which aimed to sweep out foreign criminals who entered the country to commit crime such as romance scams, credit card skimming and drug smuggling as well as over stayers.” So again there is kind of an overarching criminal justice element that I think that the authorities here in Thailand, they are kind of taking the opinion that this isn't just an administrative immigration issue; this is criminal justice matter as well.

Following up from that, there was another headline, again Bangkok Post, bangkokpost.com, titled “X-ray Outlaw Nets 72” August 10th, 2018 and I urge viewers to go online and check out these actual articles in the Bangkok Post and in a moment from KhaoSod English because there is way more in here and you get a lot more detail. I am just sort of summing out the numbers and doing my own commentary. So quoting directly, "A total of 72 people including three Thais were arrested during coordinated police raids at 75 locations nationwide frequented by foreigners in the early hours of Friday". Quoting further, "Police Major General Surachate said the crackdown also focuses on Nigerian Nationals, with several having been arrested in connection with online romance scams". So it seems as if there is kind of another facet to all of this. 

Finally summing up, again as I mentioned before, Khao Sod English, khaosodenglish.com, headline, ‘Police to Investigate “all Nigerians” in Thailand’. The article is dated August 10th, 2018. Quoting directly "Police on Friday said they will target all Nigerians in Thailand for investigation in a move a top human rights official warned could amount to an illegal discriminatory policing. A member of the National Human Rights Commission warned that indiscriminately investigating all Nigerians without evidence of wrongdoing or probable cause could be against the law.” Quoting directly further, “They should not randomly investigate people just because they are Nigerians because it will become a discrimination against their race, Angkhana Neelaphaijit said, adding that those arrested have the right to legal defense and to file a complaint if their rights have been violated.”

A couple of things. I have gone through this in various other videos on this channel. Specifically section 16 of the Immigration Act in Thailand reads as follows and this is a rough translation so don't take this as the “end-all-be-all” with respect to how that particular section of the statute reads but just sort of to conceptually understand. Just one section; this is section 16 only. “In the circumstances where for reason of national welfare or safeguarding the public peace, culture, morality or welfare or when the Minister considers it improper to allow any alien or any group of aliens to enter into the Kingdom, the Minister shall have the power to exclude said aliens or group of aliens from entering the Kingdom, presumably of Thailand." So what are we talking about here? Well although I sort of understand the position this human rights official is getting at, Thai Immigration Law is pretty clear. Immigration Authorities have rather broad powers especially where there is issues of public peace, morality; criminal activity would certainly be in violation of public peace and morality.

I am not necessarily being an apologist for the Immigration Authorities but I guess my point being in summing up this video is I think it is a little bit disingenuous to get off on the human rights track especially for those who may at the time of this video be themselves in some sort of overstay or something. If you think you're going to be able to sort of easily fall back on some sort of violation of Human Rights argument in sort of trying to stay in Thailand or not be deported or something, I don't think that is a particularly wise course of action. Again Thai Immigration Authorities are empowered with quite a number of legal tools at their disposal to go ahead and deport, blacklist, in fact detain as well, those foreign nationals who are in the Kingdom illegally or committing illegal activity in the Kingdom.

So to sum up this video I guess, kind of the "same ole’, same ole’, ", the raids and crackdowns continue. There seems to now be something of a criminal justice aspect to these raids but that being said and although I am not necessarily going to take an opinion at this time because I am not even certain exactly the policy that is doing on with respect to sort of the criminal justice aspects of this. Those who were watching this or reading these article and thinking, “oh I can fall back on a human rights violation argument to not be deported”, that is not the way to look at this. That human right stuff is specifically with respect to sort of a more broad notion of specifically over stayers or something in the Kingdom remain over stayers. They still would presumably be subject to deportation so I just kind of wanted to put my own personal commentary on that because having been an alien in the Kingdom myself, I can tell you I wouldn't have relied on being able to make a human rights argument if I had overstayed and was being deported.