Spain to extend period illegal immigrants can be held in custody
19 June 2008, 22:49 CET
(MADRID) – Spain will extend the period under which illegal immigrants can be held in custody to 60 days from the current 40 days, Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said Thursday.
“The 40-day time frame is short and for this reason we are talking about extending it by 20 days more,” she told a news conference.
“All the proceedings regarding the expulsion of return of (illegal immigrants) are governed by the judiciary in our country and have the maximum amount of legal and constitutional guarantees,” she added.
The announcement comes one day after the European Union adopted new rules allowing illegal immigrants to be held in specialised detention centres for up to 18 months prior to expulsion.
Up until now, there has been no common policy in the 27-nation bloc on detention periods for illegal immigrants, with several nations including Britain setting no limit on the amount of time that people can be held.
The measures approved Wednesday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg do not apply to refugees who come to Europe to seek asylum.
Amnesty International condemned the decision to extend the period that illegal immigrants can be held in the EU, saying it does not ensure that they are returned to their home countries safely and in dignity.