Assessing the capacity of the department of immigration in the control of human smuggling in Kenya: a case of Somali and Ethiopian illegal immigrants
The main aim of this study was to assess the capacity of the Department of Immigration in control of human smuggling in Kenyaspecifically of Ethiopian and Somali nationals. The choice of these two nationalities was based on the fact that they form the highest number of illegal immigrants in Kenya as reflected by the available statistics of those arrested in the country. The study utilized primary and secondary sources of data. Primary data was collected by use of a self administered questionnaire administered to 73 respondents drawn from 6 purposively selected stations of the Department of Immigration. The sample was drawn using both random and purposive sampling techniques and it targeted 87 respondents but 73 participated. Additional primary data was also obtained by interviewing 6 key informants drawn from Ethiopian and Somali illegal immigrants who had served their sentence and were awaiting repatriation. The face to face interview was contacted by use of an interview guide. The collected quantitative data was then analyzed by the use of Microsoft Excel and Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) and presented using descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages. The qualitative data was coded and analyzed using content analysis then presented in prose form. The study found out that the main strategies employed by the Department of Immigration were quite effective for instance about 50% of the respondents reported that the Lead Agency role of the department was effective. Border patrols and surveillance was also seen as effective as reported by a majority of the respondents. The study also found out that the legal instruments on immigration were perceived as effective by 41% of the respondents which is fairly low considering these are the users and also that the laws were reviewed recently. The knowledge of the legal instruments was however modest as slightly over half of the respondents reported that their knowledge was good. The study also found out that the United Nations Protocol against Smuggling of Human Beings was also effective in combating human smuggling internationally. This was evidenced by 50 % of the respondents who indicated that the Protocol was effective. Whereas over 48% of the respondents reported that they have been well trained in their job, further probing revealed that most of them have not been trained on key legislations such as the Kenya citizenship and Immigration Act 2011 and the Human smuggling protocol. Efficiency in curbing human smuggling was also found to be inhibited by inadequate equipment and lack of enough patrol vehicles as reported by 68% of the respondents and low staffing levels in several of the selected stations. It also came out clearly that corruption was a key driving force in human smuggling. Generally, the capacity of the Department was found to be wanting in terms of personnel, relevant training, and use of modern equipment for surveillance and patrol and also for detecting document fraud. The number of borders in the Kenya –Somali border and Kenya-Ethiopia border were not only few but far apart therefore making them extremely porous. Most of the key informants narrated that they travelled several kilometres into Kenya without coming across any immigration or security officers.