World Immigrant Day

On the occasion of World Migrants Day

Illegal immigration is more challenging than what the media shows

Author: Nastaran Farokheh

A researcher in the social field believes that even with the amendment of laws such as giving birth certificates to children with Iranian mothers and foreign fathers, the systems and structures, also people who behave in a discriminatory manner, will not change all at once.

In recent months, we have heard about the death of people who left their homes to make a better life, to experience relaxing moments in another country, people who risked boat sinking, suffocation, death, rape and other problems, but many of them, old and young, never reached their destination, and this is the eternal story of developing countries.

Others who survive, due to lack of identity and not being accepted in the destination country, may be doomed to tolerate bitter challenges, such as Afghans living in our country, the war with the Soviets made a dilemma of staying or leaving for people who were full of sweet and bitter memories in their homeland but had to be determined to leave for fear of war. In the meantime, some of them came to Iran, but now, after many years of being in Iran, they are still are deprived of their civil rights.

On the pretext of Migration Day, we talked to Qamar Takavaran, researcher and author, about the suffering of illegal immigration, which you can read below:

Sometimes migration route is harder than what the media shows


Most illegal migrations are associated with severe human and financial dangers, but this form of migration persists, especially from developing to developed countries.

Qamar Takavaran, author and social researcher, said about the reason for these hazardous decisions: “According to the narrations I hear, especially the narrations of Afghans who migrated to Iran to reach Turkey and other countries, of course, there were people who even reached Turkey, but They did not succeed and had no choice but to return’’.

She continued: “People who migrate in this way have common signs that even the words of the helpers and translators who work with them in European countries are valid, they leave the country for economic, social, political difficulties or other reasons such as war,  and think that they are going to endure a lot of hardship for a few moments, but then everything goes well and they spend the rest of their lives in favorable conditions, while the other side is not as easy as they think.

There are many refugees have lost their lives on this path, which is sometimes more complicated than what the media shows.”

The researcher refers to migrations that sometimes take 15 or 16 years, during which a person or family is constantly on the move, and said: “this person runs out of money somewhere and has to work for a while, gets stuck in another area and has to staying there for a while, in fact, is more difficult and stressful than what the general public is aware of. Many Iranians who left the country illegally later said that we thought the situation was difficult but not that much”.

Immigrants think about migration as a complete well-being



Takavaran referred to the perceptions of some people that they think that after migration, complete comfort and well-being will be created for them and continues: Perhaps one of the reasons for this form of perception is that the media did not inform appropriately in this regard and the other reason is that immigrants who realized that part of their perceptions was wrong, never said anything. I heard from my colleagues working in this field and studying on asylum seekers cases in European countries that they have seen many times that when these people call their family and friends in Iran, they fully explain everything. Not hearing the difficulties makes some people who intend to migrate in this way not understand the entire situation and make their intention more severe with these definitions.

She continues: “This form of transportation is often really life-threatening because it is human trafficking, and usually in this form of migration, people do not have an identity card, so it is easier to overthrow them and the result is the same number of people who never reach their destination.”

Do not confuse refugee and asylum seeker


The social researcher continues: “When we say immigrant, we mean a person who can live but has gone to the destination country legally for a better life, but the refugee does not have the conditions for a normal life in his own country and because of fear of living in the origin country, leaves there. There is even a difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee, the asylum seeker has left his/her country but has not yet been accepted and supported in another country, like some of the citizens living on the outskirts of the city.”

She continues: “According to the latest statistics, we have 951,000 Afghan refugees and 28,000 Iraqi refugees in the country, which they are about one million people. These people have been accepted as refugees and have been given evidence in this regard.

Undocumented immigrants also have special conditions, which are very large in the country, and their problems are much more than refugees.”

The Soviet invasion, the beginning of the migration of the Afghan people

“The marriage of an Iranian to a non-Iranian has always been, but it has increased in the last 40 years,” said Takavaran, referring to a book written by an Iranian mother about the children of an Iranian mother and a non-Iranian father. She continued: “Since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1958, many of Afghans have immigrated to Iran, and the number of Afghans living in Iran has increased, one of the consequences of which has been marriage to Iranians. As a result of the marriage, the doors of a large part of the problems open, from the very beginning of the child’s presence in the community, for example, the school, where there are many problems for registration, humiliating behaviors among friends. All of this, from the very beginning, directs the child to these kinds of issues and had a negative effect on his mentality.”

She continued: “Of course, in the meantime, a distinction must be made between children from Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani fathers and children from fathers who originated from developed countries. Both groups would be rejected. There is a derogatory view for the first group and in the second one, a kind of pessimistic view that there must be some issues that are in Iran and they are probably spies. This kind of view makes life in Iran difficult for these people.”

Legal poverty fuels economic poverty

Referring to the impact of being immigrant in Iran on the spread of poverty, Takavaran said: “No one denies that the cost of living for these people is higher, in fact, this discrimination contributes to poverty, because they have to use medical services freely and sometimes school and university expenses for them are more than others, in fact, they are deprived of citizenship rights such as getting a SIM card, buying a house, a driving certificate and other things, and besides, being a child of a noncitizen remains as a stigma on the person.  This rejection, in addition to mental and psychological problems, provides a situation for criminal actions.

The legal reform is not going to change the mind of people who think discriminatory



She went on to say about the effect of amending the ID card law, for the children of Iranian mothers on these discriminatory behaviors: “It is good to create such a law. We should note that this is acquired citizenship, which means that the application of these people can be rejected, but the problem has been largely solved. So far, 75,000 people have registered and submitted their documents to get a birth certificate. This has solved many problems such as registration on school, getting a SIM card, a certificate, etc., but it does not eliminate the negative effects on these children.”

“On the other hand, the system, and the people who treated these children of the Iranian mother in this way are not going to change completely with this law, because the cultural and social layers of the story remain.” she said. According to statistics from the Ministry of Welfare in previous years, Iranian wives married to men of 34 different nationalities living in Iran and not only Afghans, but the number of Afghans is much higher than the others.”

At the end of the story, she said that an Iraqi woman said that after years of living in Iran, she still cried about the humiliating behavior of her neighbors, or an Iranian woman whom, her neighbor’s behavior was changed entirely after they found out that her husband was Afghan. We must seriously consider how much culture plays a role in society, despite the lateness of laws adoption?

Source: Didar news

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