EU Court Rules No Jail for Illegal Migrants

EU Court Rules No Jail for Illegal MigrantsEU Court Rules No Jail for Illegal Migrants

Non-EU migrants who have illegally entered an EU member state should not face detention on those grounds, the European Court of Justice has found.

Migrants staying illegally should instead be returned to the country from which they came under the so-called Return Directive, it said.

The ruling applies to migrants crossing borders within the Schengen passport-free zone and on leaving the zone. It will infuriate critics of EU policy, but contains several important caveats, BBC reported.

The ruling was triggered by the case of a Ghanaian migrant who was found to be using false Belgian travel documents by French police at the entrance to the Channel Tunnel.

Selina Affum was placed in police custody on grounds of illegal entry into French territory but argued that this was unlawful, in light of the EU’s Return Directive.

Under the directive, an illegal migrant told to leave has up to 30 days to go voluntarily.