Saudi deports 370,000 migrants over 5 months

AP News
Posted: Mar 20, 2014 7:24 AM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia says it has deported 370,000 foreign migrant workers from the kingdom over the past five months.

The Interior Ministry says the foreigners, who are from different countries around the world, had been residing in the country illegally and violated labor laws.

Thursday's statement by the ministry says the kingdom is currently holding another 18,000 migrant workers in detention centers.

Rights groups say many are held in appalling conditions while they await deportation. At least one Yemeni detainee died in a stampede during riots at a deportation center this month.

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The deportations began in November as part of a nationwide campaign targeting many of the kingdom's 9 million migrant laborers after years of lax law enforcement.

Saudi authorities say booting out foreigners will open jobs for the kingdom's citizens.