Yesterday, the European Parliament voted by an overwhelming 369-to-197 to allow member states to hold undocumented migrants in detention centers for up to 18 months and to ban them from EU territory for 5 years. Amendments to soften this directive–including measures that would have required judicial approval of detentions within 72 hours and the provision of free legal counsel should migrants require need it–were rejected. Also rejected was an attempt to reduce the maximum period of detention to six months.
The passage of this measure could not have come at a more opportune time to expose Europe’s hypocrisy. Just last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that enemy combatants captured on foreign soil have habeus corpus rights. The decision was predictably applauded by Europe’s chattering class, to whom, we are endlessly lectured, Guantanamo represents a “stain” on our national reputation. (Many of these soon-to-be-imprisoned migrants, it should be noted, are asylum seekers.)
Amnesty International has complained about the EU’s new statute, calling it “deeply disappointing” and “severely flawed.” No word on whether Europe’s 224 migrant detention centers are now the “gulags of our times.”