Europe Begins Massive Deportation Of 400,000 Illegal Immigrants

Jacob Bojesson | Foreign Correspondent

The European Union has moved forward on deporting rejected asylum seekers to ease the pressure from the Syrian migration crisis.

The interior ministers of the E.U. met to discuss a 10-point plan Thursday and agreed to new regulations that will speed up the process of removing more than 400,000 illegal immigrants. The ultimate goal is to deter others coming in the future by sending a clear message that they won’t be able to stay if they are rejected asylum.

“We need to be better and more effective, not just at helping people and offering refuge, but also at returning those who have no right to stay,” E.U. Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said at a press conference Friday. “That is why a credible and effective return policy is also an essential component of our efforts.”

The return program will be funded by the $3.5 billion Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, with a significant portion now set aside for the next five years.

Refugees fleeing war — in countries such as Syria, Iraq and Eritrea — tend to get asylum while economic refugees from Africa and Asia often get rejected. The E.U. has faced problems with deporting the rejected asylum seekers and less than 40 percent were successfully removed in 2014, according to BBC.

A lot of people are also taking advantage of the Syrian refugee stream by attempting to slip through the cracks when the Frontex border agency fails to keep track of the situation. Libyan authorities successfully arrested a group of 300 African migrants Friday as they were about to board boats taking them across the Mediterranean Sea.

A relocation program to spread out the number of refugees across Europe proportionally was also set in motion Friday with planes filled with asylum seekers departing Italy.

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