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EU passes controversial immigration policy

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In an attempt to crackdown on illegal immigration into the European Union, the European Parliament passed a standardized policy on deporting illegal immigrants.

Under the new policy, Member States can detain illegal immigrants for as long as 18 months in specialized detention centers.

A number of human rights groups have criticized the new legislation. Amnesty International feels that the text of the new policy does not guarantee that illegal immigrants would be returned safely and with dignity.

"It sets an extremely bad example," Amnesty International said in a statement.

However, European legislators maintain that they are merely setting a standard immigration policy across the EU and maximizing penalties for illegal immigrants, and that Member States can choose less strict immigration laws.

The draft text from several weeks ago pointed out that the national immigration policies of each EU State affect all other members. "No member state can effectively control or deal with all aspects of immigration on their own," according to the draft.

The new legislation applies to the 25 Member States bound by the Schengen Agreement, which allows for open borders between treaty members. The United Kingdom and Ireland, who are not part of the Schengen Zone, will not implement the new law.