Portugal’s interior ministry ‘ponders putting undocumented migrants in jail’

In a move that is almost certain to generate controversy, MAI – the Portuguese interior ministry – is reported to be ‘pondering’ a plan to put ‘foreigners who arrive in national territory in the situation of emergency’ – the kind that enter the country in boats from Morocco – in jail; more precisely in an ‘unoccupied wing’ of Caxias prison, outside Lisbon.

Bearing in mind similar incarceration in the UK (in a run-down barracks) has seen a High Court judge rule that the British government broke the law, it may well be that MAI’s ponderations fall by the wayside.

For the time being, Expresso reports the idea “is not about using the wing for people requesting asylum but for minors or requests for international protection. People for whom courts deem ‘retention in a situation of emergency” is necessary.

The plan was mooted by minister of interior administration Eduardo Cabrita on Wednesday “without many details” in its support, says the paper.

The news follows various media reports on the number of foreigners ‘lost’ by Portuguese authorities – particularly since the arrival of boat-people from Morocco (click here).

Alternative venues for the accommodation of these people have their ‘issues’ in that they are not ‘secure’.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com