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Immigration deal risks splintering

brussels bureau

Immigration deal risks splintering


A deal on handling illegal immigrants could be undone two weeks from now… The EU governments and the heads of the European Parliament’s main groups have reached an agreement, but any amendment proposed at a plenary vote would require renewed negotiations. And the Socialists say they will ask for changes. Under the deal, the maximum time an illegal migrant can be locked up is for 18 months — shorter supposedly for children.
The left says this is too harsh in any case. One critic said he was not convinced that the agreement to provide legal representation for the person who has been ordered repatriated would fly, what with the strings attached. Last month in Brussels, even euro-MPs were out demonstrating against the directive. The protesters said it brands helpless border-crossers criminals. More than 200,000 migrants were arrested in the EU in the first half of 2007, but fewer than half of them were expelled. Brussels insists the bloc needs legislation so it can manage legal immigration.

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