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100,000 aliens overstaying; BI starts making arrests

The Bureau of Immigration has arrested four foreign nationals in a series of actions in Davao, Tagum City, Cavite, and Marilao, Bulacan, as part of the agency’s drive against overstaying aliens whose number has exceeded the 100,000-mark in the country.

The bureau said that these foreigners are now considered illegal aliens and face possible deportation for their failure to apply for the Bureau of Immigration’s Alien Registration Program which expired Sept. 30, 2015.

Only 60,000 foreigners applied for the ARP while 460 have already been approved and their documents corrected, according to BI spokesperson   Elaine Tan.

The ARP program, which started  Oct. 1 last year, processed 60,000 out of the expected 200,000 registered aliens in the country.

Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison reiterated that there will be no extensions of the ARP as the bureau gave the foreigners enough time to avail the program.

“Foreigners who did not avail the ARP are now deemed illegal aliens,” a BI official said.      

“This one-year assistance to foreign nationals allowed us to assist those with improper immigration documents to regularize their stay in the Philippines without being arrested or deported,” Mison said.   

“Thus, any foreign national who is found to have violated the immigration laws shall immediately be deported,” Mison said.  

Arrested were Gregory Cue King and Raynaldo Roman, both Americans; Peter Smith Bjarnason, Kiwi national and Isaac Agyei, a Ghanaian.

They were arrested pursuant to the “Sa Immigration Magsumbong” informants program, where concerned private citizens may send information about overstaying or undocumented foreign nationals through a text message.  

“This indicates strong public involvement in our drive against illegal aliens. Since the inception of the program last year, we were able to arrest 82 foreign nationals,” Tan said.

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