‘You’re a threat to our borders!’ Fury as EU court rules France CAN’T imprison migrants for trying to cross the Channel – meaning they could be freed to try again
- European Court of Justice found against French in case of Ghanaian migrant
- Concluded woman had been unlawfully detained for illegally entering the UK
- Ruling raises questions about whether migrants could be freed to try again
- Justice minister Dominic Raab says ruling threatens our borders
Migrants cannot be imprisoned just because they try to sneak across the Channel from France, the European Court of Justice has declared.
The ruling against French authorities raises the prospect that people could be free to attempt to gain access to Britain again.
It comes with Home Secretary Theresa May under intense pressure to tackle the problem of migrants entering the UK illegally via lorries and ports
Judges in Luxembourg were considering the case of a Ghanaian woman, Selina Affum, who was caught by police on a bus at the Channel Tunnel.
After she tried to use a Belgian passport in someone else’s name, French police placed her in custody for illegal entry into the country and asked Belgium to readmit her.
However, after Ms Affum appealed the ECJ decided that detaining her was against the EU’s ‘return directive’ that covers deporting migrants.
Those rules say illegal migrants who have committed no other offence should be invited to go home voluntarily first, and can only be locked up if they fail to comply or there is a risk they will flee.
The judges said: ‘The return directive prevents a national of a non-EU country who has not yet been subject to the return procedure being imprisoned solely because he or she has entered the territory of a Member State illegally across an internal border of the Schengen area.
‘That is also the case where that national, who is merely in transit on the territory of the Member State concerned, is intercepted when leaving the Schengen area and is the subject of a procedure for readmission into the Member State from which he or she has come.’
The judgement added: ‘The Court thus holds that the Member States cannot permit nationals of non-EU countries in respect of whom the return procedure established by the directive has not yet been completed to be imprisoned merely on account of illegal entry, resulting in an illegal stay, as such imprisonment is liable to thwart the application of that procedure and delay return, and thereby to undermine the directive’s effectiveness.’
Justice minister Dominic Raab, a Brexit campaigner, said: ‘These rulings by the European Court of Justice threaten the integrity of our borders, and create serious risks for our security.
‘It’s also a stark illustration of our loss of proper democratic control to the EU over a sensitive area of policy.
‘The ruling increases the risk that illegal immigrants will be able to enter the UK, because it weakens the ability of other EU governments to put in place proper checks.
‘The EU is simply not fit for purpose, and the only way to take back control is to Vote Leave on June 23.’
But Labour MP Emma Reynolds, a Remain supporter, said: ‘The Leave campaign is misleading people yet again. They know perfectly well that this court ruling does not apply to the UK because we are exempt from this directive. ‘Leaving the EU will make it harder to work with other countries to keep our border secure. That’s why law enforcement professionals say we will be safer in Europe than out on our own.’
Britain is not a member of the 26-state Schengen passport free area, and is not covered by the return directive.
But many migrants who reach the continent fleeing from conflict and poverty hope to reach the UK.
Thousands gathered at the so-called ‘Jungle’ camp near Calais before it was torn down earlier this year.
A site near the Eurostar terminal in Paris has now turned into a staging post for more than 2,500 mainly African and Asian migrants, many of whom aim to reach the UK.
Paris’s socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo announced plans to build the first international refugee camp in the capital, a decision that is thought to have attracted many to the city.
Most in the current camp are young men, many using the rubbish-strewn shanty town as a base to plan their passage to Britain.
Almost all who spoke to the Daily Mail this week said they had entered Europe by paying smugglers to take them across the Mediterranean in fishing boats from northern Africa or Turkey.
Once in Europe, they hitched lifts in lorries or took trains and buses to reach the French capital. They said they selected the Jardins d’Eole because it is close to Gare du Nord, where high-speed trains travel to and from London.
Trains also go to ports on the coast of Normandy and Brittany, where many will try to sneak on to lorries or find people smugglers to take them to Britain by boat.
The Jardins d’Eole near the Eurostar terminal in Paris has been turned into a squalid camp for over 2,500 mainly African and Asian migrants.
Boris and Gove challenge rattled PM to showdown after he accuses them of peddling ‘untruths’
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have laid down the gauntlet to David Cameron after he accused them of peddling ‘untruths’ during the referendum battle.
At a hastily arranged press conference, the Prime Minister tried to stem an apparent surge in support for Brexit by pleading with the public not to believe ‘con tricks’.
But he was forced to deny being rattled by the prospect of losing the referendum after a series of polls showed momentum slipping away from the Remain side.
The Justice Secretary and former London mayor also hit back by insisting that Brexit was the ‘safer choice’ and challenging him to a head-to-head debate on the facts.
The row came ahead of a key television showdown tonight which saw Mr Cameron and Nigel Farage grilled by a live audience on ITV.
The Prime Minister has refused to face off directly with the Ukip leader or any other Brexit campaigner, so the two will appear consecutively.
Mr Cameron said the consensus was that Brexit would cause ‘instability, jobs and investment lost’ and a ‘decade of uncertainty’.
‘What have we heard from those who want us to leave? Complacency and nonchalance,’ he said.
‘A casual wave of the hand. They say people have had enough of hearing from experts.
‘Had enough of experts. Would you say that if you were building a bridge? Or if you were buying a house?
‘Of course not. Why would you say it about one of the most important and complex decisions that this country will have to take in our lifetime?’
But Mr Johnson and Mr Gove hit back in a joint statement:’The real risk for Britain in this referendum is voting to remain in the EU with a broken single currency and a rogue European Court.
‘The safer choice is voting to leave, so we can take back control of our money, borders, security, trade and taxes.
Archbishop slams Farage for ‘legitimising racism’ by warning of Cologne-style sex attacks in Britain unless we leave the EU
The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a furious attack on Nigel Farage for ‘legitimising racism’.
Justin Welby said the Ukip leader’s claim that there could be Cologne-style sex attacks if we stay in the EU was ‘inexcusable’.
The intervention, hours before Mr Farage is due to take part in a televised EU referendum special with David Cameron, came as the Archbishop gave evidence to MPs.
Nigel Farage on the Brexit campaign trail on London today. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has accused him of ‘legitimising racism’
Mr Welby told the Home Affairs Committee that such comments had resulted in violence in the past.
‘I think that is an inexcusable pandering to people’s worries and prejudices,’ he said.
‘That is giving legitimisation to racism which I’ve seen in parishes in which I’ve served, and has led to attacks on people in those parishes. We cannot legitimise that.
‘What that is, is accentuating fear for political gain and that is absolutely inexcusable.’
Mr Farage was heavily criticised at the weekend for describing the threat of mass sex attacks – such as occurred in Cologne at New Year – as the ‘nuclear bomb’ of the EU referendum campaign.
7.5MILLION ‘MISSING VOTERS’ WHO ARE YET TO REGISTER AHEAD OF TONIGHT’S DEADLINE
But the elections watchdog said there are an estimated 7.5 million ‘missing voters’ who are not on the electoral register and have just hours to apply for a vote in the June 23 referendum
A massive 226,000 people registered to vote in the EU referendum yesterday ahead of the midnight deadline tonight.
It is the second largest number of sign-ups in a single day since online voter registration was launched, the Electoral Commission said.
But the elections watchdog said there are an estimated 7.5 million ‘missing voters’ who are not on the electoral register and have just hours to apply.
Around 150,000 under-35s registered to vote after a number of campaigns targeted younger voters on Facebook.
Over the past week more than 400,000 under-35s have registered to vote in the June 23 referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.
And over the last three weeks, about 1.3 million people have registered overall, with more than half of them under the age of 34.
But there are signs that some people are being deterred from signing up for a vote because they don’t want to supply their National Insurance number.
The elections watchdog is confident that today will break the record for the number of sign-ups in one day as people rush to register for the historic vote on EU membership.
The current record was on deadline day ahead of last year’s General Election, when 485,000 people applied for a vote.
In total, it is estimated that around 46 million people will have a vote in the referendum later this month.