Written by 11:06 am India, Politics

CAA Law – Refugee Vs Migrant distinction is the key

Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) addresses a group – refugees – which is fundamentally different from Migrants as per International laws. Why the confusion?

CAA Protests

Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has become a goldmine for those who hate an independent India and want to ensure that the Indian government toes their line “or else”. And, it is also the single biggest communication failure of the Modi cabinet. CAA was needed. It was needed because there is a serious crisis of persecution in India’s neighborhood for non-Muslim communities.

The constant cry of the Anti-CAA (and anti-Modi) ideologues has been that the law “discriminates against Muslims”. “Discriminates against the Muslims” coming from Muslim theocratic countries?

CAA Fiasco – Brainwashing and monumental communication failure by Modi government

The entire issue of brainwashing and communication mismanagement flew into my face when I recently talked to a dear friend whom I have known for over 20 years now. He is an Indian American who was born in US and believes in supremacy of US in the world. He is not religious but imbibes the Indian values deeply.

When he started sharing the exact talking points of the Pakistanis, Congress, and American Democratic establishment, one knew how miserably the Modi government had failed to put the law and its need in context.

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So I started off with the Lautenberg Amendment in the US (Lautenberg Amendment – the US law that grants asylum to non-Muslim minorities), where only Jews and Christians from Iran are allowed the refuge in the US. Not Iranian Muslims. My pointed question was – will you allow the refugee status to Iranian Muslims from Iran?

Then he shifted the goal-post – as many anti-Modi people do. He asked – but those Muslims from Bangladesh are already in India. Then why the discrimination?

So, you are saying, I paraphrased him in his own context, that Jewish asylum seekers from Iran should be treated with the same law as the Mexican illegal immigrants? Should they get the same legal recourse? Should an illegal Mexican immigrant’s citizenship be fast tracked as a Jew’s from Iran? Should this Jew from Iran be sent back to Iran to a certain death, as you can deport an illegal Mexican to a less remunerative life, but life nevertheless?

Refugee vs Asylum seeker vs Migrant – Clear Distinctions

There is a difference. (Why CAA – Refugees vs Economic Migrants and National Security) Difference between a Jew from Iran seeking refuge in the US, and an illegal Mexican worker seeking a better life in the US. And, that difference is the EXACT same one between a Sikh or a Hindu or a Christian seeking refuge in India because he faces certain death in Afghanistan or state-mandated persecution in Bangladesh and Pakistan, and an illegal Bangladeshi seeking a more remunerative life in India.

That difference is between three types of migrations that occur. The laws that apply to each are different, the reasons for movement are different and the treatment under law for deportation are different. Refugees vs Asylum Seekers Vs Migrants. These are different distinctions in international law and policy. Here is a quick primer for the difference between the three.

RefugeesAsylum SeekersMigrants
Refugees are people fleeing armed conflicts or persecutionAn asylum seeker is someone who claims to be a refugee but whose claim hasn’t been evaluated.Migrants choose to move not because of a direct threat or persecution but mainly to improve their lives – in order to find work, seek better education or reunite with family
Refugees are protected by international law, specifically the 1951 Refugee Convention. Principle of non-Refoulement bars deportation of Refugees back to a place where they will face persecution. International laws prohibit Refoulement!Asylum seekers go through the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process for the country of refuge to determine the status. Such a person can either be admitted as a refugee or refused entry.Migrants are subject to Immigration laws and NOT the Refugee convention and laws. Unlike refugees who cannot safely return home, migrants can return home if they wish. 
Hindus, Christians, Jews, Sikhs coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh are RefugeesPeople of different Muslim denominations within these countries – like Shia etc – can at best be asylum seekersSunni Muslims from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh are at best migrants. They are not escaping any religious or specific persecution.
CAA law in India addresses this groupAsylum process addresses this groupImmigration law in India addresses this group

The group addressed by Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is fundamentally different from the group that is addressed by the immigration laws or even the asylum laws. And, this difference is enshrined in the international laws. Migrants, for example, are not granted any protection from refoulement. They can be, and are deported. By every country.

CAA – Its per the law, stupid – International law!

How is it that when the difference between the categories of immigrants into the country – for refuge, asylum, or migration – is so clearly defined in the international laws, did the Indian government and its commentators so spectacularly fail in calling out the idiocy of their critics? How is it that the Indian establishment, specifically the Foreign ministry, allow the ideologically compromised “Left-liberal” groups in the West (co-opted by the Islamist lobbies) to muddy the water so irretrievably?

The false equivalence in complete contravention of the international laws has been almost institutionalized in the journalistic and think-tank circles. How?!! It is almost like everyone is intoxicated by a dope that allows them to willingly surrender any semblance of basic common sense!

Here is a very clear video that discusses the same distinctions, but from the perspective of what is happening in Europe.

Featured Image – Sanjeev Yadav, DiplomatTesterMan

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