[JURIST] European Union [official website] government leaders meeting in Brussels Friday directed member states [official report, PDF] to draft tougher border security legislation to curb the growing problem of illegal immigration in Europe. The security overhaul is aimed at setting common security standards at airports, harbors and border checkpoints in an effort to filter out illegal immigrants and to catch criminals and terror suspects before they enter the 27-country bloc. In addition to fingerprinting all foreign visitors, the EU leaders proposed the use of new technological initiatives, including satellite systems and an Internet-based pre-travel authorization system, to detect illegal immigrants and screen foreigners.
On Wednesday the European Parliament [official website] approved [JURIST report] a new set of immigration rules [press release] to help combat the growing number of illegal immigrants in the EU, currently estimated at eight million. The rules allow EU states to detain illegal immigrants for up to 18 months to decrease flight risk while deportation is being processed as well as impose a re-entry ban of up to five years on expelled immigrants who do not cooperate or are deemed a security threat. The plan also requires that immigrants be given access to free legal advice, and that minors and families with children only be detained as a last resort. AP has more.