Of late we have seen Tanzania facing influx of illegal immigrants from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia who live and work in the country without legal documents.
The Minister for Home Affairs Charles Kitwanga has assured Tanzanians that there will be a crackdown to make sure that those who entered the country illegally are netted and face the wrath of the law.
The operation intends to arrest all undocumented immigrants including those who are working without living permits.
Over the past years, Tanzania witnessed a number of arrests of immigrants from the Horn of Africa on transit to South Africa.
All these people were entering the country illegally ignoring the proper procedure set out by the laws of the country.
The major means of transportation listed are buses and bad enough some Tanzanians were facilitating their movement. There were cases were by these illegal immigrants were found piled up in cargo trucks or containers.
Towards the end of 2013, former President Jakaya Kikwete gave a two-week ultimatum to all illegal immigrants to voluntarily leave the country.
In this operation total of 12, 704 illegal migrants were arrested. Data shows that Kagera Region led by capturing 7, 001 illegal immigrants, followed by Kigoma where
5, 005 illegal immigrants were arrested while in Geita Region 698 Illegal immigrants were arrested.
We must now with the reasons for such an influx of illegal immigrants. We are of the opinion that the ever increasing number of illegal immigrants is because our borders are porous. Also some of these immigrants find their way to the country through marine transport. This means that areas like Kigoma, Mara Mwanza, Geita, Kigoma, Rukwa and Mbeya are likely top the list of illegal immigrants.
The Immigration Act provides that any immigration officer or any police officer may prevent any prohibited immigrant from entering Tanzania and may, without warrant, arrest any prohibited immigrant or any person who he has reasonable cause to suspect of having entered Tanzania while being a prohibited immigrant.
We can consider the national system of registration and identification of people and provision of National Identity introduced in the country way back in February, 2013.
We are of the view that National Identity Cards would eradicate the problem of illegal immigrants since it will make easy the identification of foreigners.
We also have to be cautious because what we witnessed during Operation Kimbunga should not happen again.
There are tales of some officials taking advantage of properties behind by repatriated illegal immigrants.
During the Operation some officials took advantage of the situation to enrich themselves through the properties left behind.
Claims of corruption were also rampant. Local officials and immigration officers were allegedly protecting people with money, especially the pastoralists, from being rounded up for expulsion. There should not a repeat of that.