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EU justice ministers agree on draft immigration policy

[JURIST] EU justice ministers agreed to a draft immigration and asylum proposal Tuesday during an informal meeting held ahead of the official Wednesday summit in Cannes, France. The draft policy is aimed at standardizing EU nations' approach to immigration and asylum, as set out in the work programme [PDF text] circulated by the French EU Presidency [official website] late last month. The programme includes streamlining legal procedures, stepping up efforts against illegal immigration, and promoting a closer partnership between migrants' countries of origin, transit countries, and countries of destination. The draft policy also seeks to strengthen EU border controls, improve the European asylum system, and provide for the removal of foreigners who remain in the EU illegally. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

Last month, EU government leaders meeting in Brussels directed member states to draft tougher border security legislation [JURIST report] to curb the increasing problem of illegal immigration. Also in June, the European Parliament approved a new set of immigration rules [JURIST report] to help combat the increasing number of illegal immigrants in the EU. The rules allow EU states to detain illegal immigrants for up to 18 months to decrease flight risk while deportation is being processed, in addition to imposing 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.

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