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EU high court says states can limit family reunification for immigrants

[JURIST] European Union nations may create additional requirements to family reunification where a child is older than 12 years old and arrives in the member nation as an immigrant before the rest of the family without violating fundamental family rights, the European Court of Justice ruled Tuesday. The ECJ dismissed an action [PDF press release; full text opinion] filed by the European Parliament challenging an EU Council Directive [2003/86/EC text] that allows member states to apply national legislation to family reunification. The opinion held that allowing member states to use a limited amount of discretion in determining requirements for family reunification is a proper balancing test that does not violate the right to respect for family life of the European Convention of Human Rights [text].

The ruling is seen as a victory for EU member nations who wish to have more control over immigration, an increasingly controversial subject in France, the Netherlands, and other states. The ruling permits countries to consider their capacity to accept more immigrants as one factor in whether a family should be allowed to reunite with a child already present in the country. Reuters has more.

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