The Cost of Mass Deportation

2015-0315 The Cost of Mass Deportation

THE Shumaisy Deportation Center has been receiving new groups of inmates who have been caught in the massive crackdown against violators of labor and residency regulations that began across the Kingdom last week.

Established ahead of a similar campaign in November 2013 and strategically located between the cities of Makkah and Jeddah, the center is equipped to handle a large number of inmates.

Violators typically have to stay at the center until their deportation procedures are completed and they can be sent back home.

Built on an area measuring 2,450,000 square meters and at a cost of approximately SR3 billion, the center has several departments.

Some of its buildings house offices of the Interior Ministry, foreign consulates, Intelligence Department, Passport Directorate and the police while other buildings are used for administrative purposes.

The center’s kitchen has modern equipment that can prepare 150,000 meals a day. Kitchen workers and officers in the center have their residential complexes where they can sleep and rest.

The center consists of 480 cells with a total of 32,000 beds. Women and minors stay in cells designed and built specifically for them.

There are air-conditioned halls, giant facilities, two mosques, a 50-bed hospital with state-of-the-art equipment, in addition to medical units within each facility to respond to emergency cases.

Any expatriate worker who is detained for violating the law will be taken to the air-conditioned reception hall.

The next step is to sort out the cases of workers, search them and their belongings, and store their personal items in a safety deposit box at the center.

All personal information of workers, including fingerprints and retinal scans, are entered into the center’s computers.

Registration of such vital information helps authorities to detect criminals with prior felony records who are wanted by the authorities.

Such criminals, if discovered, are sent to a local police station so authorities can take the necessary measures against them.

Also, criminals wanted by Interpol are identified and detained. Once processed, violators are taken to another reception hall where officers will record the details of each inmate in order to use this information for daily, weekly and monthly statistics.

The inmates are finally sent to their prison cells, segregated according to nationality. This policy minimizes the possibility of problems or fights occurring inside the cells.

The center has units for violators hailing from Arab, Asian and African countries. Inmates wait for their respective consulate’s representative who will be given a photograph of the inmate so a temporary travel permit can be issued by the consulate.

Once the permits are issued, the Saudi government initiates the process of deporting the inmates.

The last phase is the deportation hall where officers double-check the information of every inmate and ensure fingerprints and retinal scans have been registered.

The inmates are then handed their travel permits and guided to buses that will drop them off at King Abdulaziz International Airport.

The center deports 5,000 violators each day and the Saudi government bears the costs of airfare.


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