“Returns Directive” immigration policy with the lowest common denominator

On June 17th & 18th the EU will vote on the proposed anti-immigration legislation”Returns Directive” which will enable member states to:

Detain and deport migrants including vulnerable people, unaccompanied minors (under 18 years of age) and pregnant women.
Expel unaccompanied minors and other migrants to a country where they have neither family nor legal support.
Ban an expelled migrant from re-entering any part of the EU for up to 5 years. Detain non-EU migrants for up to 18 months.

In an open letter to the EU, Bolivilan President, Evo Morales challenges the “Returns Directive” and Europe’s anti-immigration attitudes and legislation within the context of European imperialism and migration over the past 500 years. [In Spanish]

Europeans arrived en masse in the countries of Latin America and North America, without visas or conditions imposed by the authorities. They were always welcome, and they continue to be, in our countries on the American continent, which therefore absorb the economic misery of Europe and its political crises. They came to our continent to exploit its wealth and transfer it to Europe, with a very high cost for America’s original population. Such is the case in our Cerro Rico, in Potosi, where the fabulous silver mines provided the European continent its coinage from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The goods and personal rights of the European migrants were always respected.

Today the European Union is the main destination for the world’s migrants, as a consequence of its positive image as an area of prosperity and public freedom. The vast majority of the migrants come to the EU to contribute to this prosperity, not to take advantage of it. They occupy jobs in public works, construction, personal services and hospitals, which Europeans can’t or don’t wish to fill. They contribute to the European continent’s dynamic demographic, to maintaining the relationship between the active and inactive that in turn makes possible its generous systems of social security, internal market stimulation and social cohesion. Migrants offer a solution to the EU’s demographic and financial problems

As far as the UK is concerned many of above measures are already taking place and this will add to the criminalisation and internment of immigrants. As things stand right now it is near impossible for asylum seekers to seek legal representation or medical assistance whilst in detention – see here and here and here.

Links: Carta abierta de Evo Morales a propósito de la “directiva retorno” de la UE