Illegal migrants cannot be jailed for crossing borders, rules EU court

Luxembourg: EU countries cannot imprison illegal migrants just for crossing borders inside the passport-free Schengen area, the bloc's top court ruled Tuesday, in a new blow to efforts to crack down on the migration crisis.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg said that European Union rules prevent the jailing of non-EU migrants who have illegally crossed a frontier if they have not already been subject to deportation procedures.

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. AFP

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. AFP

The ruling came in the case of a Ghanaian woman, Selina Affum, who was caught by French police at the Channel Tunnel while on a bus from Belgium to Britain using someone else's passport.

French police placed her in custody for illegal entry to France, and then asked Belgium to readmit her.

The EU court, ruling on Affum's appeal against her detention, said that it was against the EU's "return directive" or laws on deporting migrants.

"The return directive prevents a national of a non-EU country who has not yet been subject to the return procedure being imprisoned solely because he or she has entered the territory of a Member State illegally across an internal border of the Schengen area," it said.

The Schengen passport free area of 26 European countries has come under severe pressure from the continent's biggest migration crisis since World War II as people flee war in Syria and elsewhere.

Faced with an an influx of more than one million migrants and refugees in the past year and a half, many Schengen countries have brought back border controls that were dismantled a decade ago.


Updated Date: Jun 07, 2016 19:09 PM

Also Watch

Social Media Star: Abhishek Bachchan, Varun Grover reveal how they handle selfies, trolls and broccoli
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 It's a Wrap: Soorma star Diljit Dosanjh and Hockey legend Sandeep Singh in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 Watch: Dalit man in Uttar Pradesh defies decades of prejudice by taking out baraat in Thakur-dominated Nizampur village
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 India's water crisis: After govt apathy, Odisha farmer carves out 3-km canal from hills to tackle scarcity in village
  • Sunday, July 15, 2018 Maurizio Sarri, named as new Chelsea manager, is owner Roman Abramovich's latest gamble in quest for 'perfect football'

Also See