New European Union rules have been approved against illegal immigrants. They could be held in custody for up to 18 months now, children included. It will be up to a government to decide to grant asylum or deport the illegal immigrants, and whether to give access to a lawyer.The provision for holding them is designed to deal with paperwork in case there is no take-back agreement with the detainee’s country. The law now needs the European Parliament’s vote, but analyst Sergio Carrera is worried about the implications: “This directive will promote at the European level a European standard of 18 months for the detention of illegal migrants, something which in my view is completely disproportionate.”
The draft was approved by the EU ambassadors of the bloc’s 27 members. Analyst Elizabeth Collett is concerned over the direction Europe is taking:
‘‘If you look at Italy right now, there is a certain trend towards the idea that illegal migration is is a crime, that suggestion that migrants who crossed the border illegally might be imprisoned for four years is actually quite a change, and against a number of well-established international principles that actually crossing the border cannot be a criminal act in itself.”
The European Commission estimates some eight million illegal migrants live in the EU. These protesters in Brussels demanding the right to stay have been on hunger strike for three weeks. Brussels said the new law was the only way to convince governments and voters to accept legal migrants.