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Uncertain 'Welcome Back' Awaits Bali's Migrant Population

Authorities Tighten Control at Ferry Crossings and Conduct Identity Checks in Bali Neighborhoods to Control Domestic Migrants.

(10/22/2007) An estimated 100,000 common laborers have begun traveling to Bali following Lebaran celebrations in Java and other areas of Indonesia. Among those traveling by bus, motorcycle and on foot crossing on the ferry from Ketapang (Java) to Gilimanuk (Bali) will be many first-time travelers to Bali, accompanying friends and relatives back to Bali in search of employment and better fortunes.

To help stem the human swell, Bali officials staffing the entry point to Bali are requiring all arriving passengers to show an ID card issued in Bali and demonstrate that they are gainfully employed on Bali.

According to the man in charge of population and civil registration in North Bali, I Gusti Ngurah Sudirama, travelers unable to present the required identification and prove an economic link to Bali will be placed back on the ferry bound for Java.

Inspections are being conducted at Bali's gateways as well as on a neighborhood level in communities across the Island. Inspections carried out in Kuta on Thursday, October 18, 2007, netted 260 undocumented residents who were hit with administrative sanctions and required to present a guarantor or face possible expulsion from the island.