The European Commission has made clear its view on how illegal immigrants should be treated. It is calling for up to 18 months behind bars and a ban on returning to Europe for at least five years. MEPs will vote on that later today in a bid to wipe-out national inconsistencies among EU member states.
Jacques Barrot, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, said: “I can’t let our politics be caricatured as Europe barricading its borders. That’s not true. This is a Europe which is tackling the problems of immigration in a balanced way; it’s an open Europe; a Europe which does not accept that everything can remain in a state of disorder, which is in nobody’s interests.”
It is feared the new legislation will encourage governments to be more strict with those seeking refuge.
At the moment two thirds of EU countries treat illegal immigrants far more leniently than what is being proposed. Under the new law, unaccompanied minors with no obvious family links could be deported, just as adults are.