Undocumented migrants keep on facing obstacles to access basic rights and justice

The European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) published a new report entitled “Fundamental rights of migrants in an irregular situation in the European Union which argues that, “while EU Member States have a right to control immigration, non-compliance with migration regulations cannot deprive migrants in an irregular situation of certain basic rights to which they are entitled as human beings”.

FRA Director Morten Kjaerum said, “We employ irregular migrants as cheap domestic workers to clean our homes. We eat the fruits and vegetables that they pick. But despite their contribution to our societies, when irregular migrants try to access healthcare or education services, or try to seek justice in case of abuse, they often face a closed door or, worse, deportation. Human rights belong to all human beings. And we remain human beings even if we do not have a passport, or a visa or a residence permit.”

A recent course by given by
Raza Husain QC at Matrix Chambers explained how EEA law may be relied upon to safeguard those rights.

Campaign to end detention of refugee and asylum-seeking children

A campaign to urge States to pledge to end the detention of refugee and asylum-seeking children took place during a Ministerial meeting of UN Member States 7 – 8 December. Those involved in the campaign includes 50 NGOs including ECRE Members, national Amnesty International sections and IDC Members in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and Poland.

Unsurprisingly, the UK government does not support the campaign.

All those that do firmly believe that children, and in particular unaccompanied or separated children, should never be detained solely for immigration purposes given that immigration detention cannot be said to be in their best interests.

The campaign continues.

Italy and the Detention of Migrants

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that Italy is in breach of EU law, and in particular the Returns Directive, by administering up to 4 years of imprisonment for third country nationals illegally staying in Italy who have received an order to leave.

Where the Returns Directive allows for the use of detention, it must always be for the purpose of enforcing a return decision. The detention period must be as short as possible, and never exceed 18 months.

The judgement can be found here.

Battle for the Soul of Europe

The free movement of people in Europe is underwritten by the Schengen Agreement, but EU governments are increasingly moving back towards immigration checks between their countries.

The removal of unfettered travel across the continent will be a blow to one of the cornerstones of a united, integrated Europe.

According to reports it is being pushed primarily by France and Italy, but supported by 15 of the 22 EU states signed up to Schengen.

What has triggered the attack on the Schengen Agreement is fear of another wave of Muslim immigrants from north Africa. But what it has done was to raise the profile of the populist right parties slowly developing in many EU countries.

Passenger Name Records

The Immigration Minister made a statement in the House of Commons on 11 May 2011 to confirm that the Government has decided to opt into the EU Directive on Passenger Name Records.

The justification for doing so was to assist law enforcement agencies to prevent, detect, and investigate terrorist and other criminal activities.

This means that passenger data collected by air carriers as part of the operation of their business will be collected and monitored by EU governments. Air carriers will not be required to collect any more data than they already collect as part of an ordinary business transaction.

The data...

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A8 Nationals and the Worker Registration Scheme

The UK Border Agency scheme to restrict work for A8 (Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovak, and Slovenian) nationals ended on 01 May 2011. After 1 May 2011, A8 nationals will not be required to apply for an EEA Registration Certificate to confirm their right of residence. It will be open to A8 nationals, in the same way as other EU nationals, to ... Read More...

France: Roma expulsions

The European commission ordered France to comply with an EU directive on the free movement of EU citizens or face legal action over its expulsion of thousands of Roma. Read More...