Thursday, March 15, 2007

French High Court cancels the creation of illegal migrants database

In an interesting decision, the highest administrative court in France has cancelled a ministerial order setting up a database aimed at facilitating the expulsion of illegal migrants. Via EDRI-gram:

"On 2 October 2006, four French NGOs filed this case against the Interior minister: CIMADE and GISTI (two associations defending the rights of migrants), LDH (the French Human Rights League), and French EDRI member IRIS. While the database creation itself is allowed by the French code on immigration and asylum (CESEDA), the NGOs argued that the ELOI file would contain excessive and inadequate personal data on the foreigners themselves, their children, the citizens with which they were staying, and their visitors in retention centres. Moreover, these data were supposed to be kept for an excessive duration."

The court essentially cancelled the order because the ministry of interior set up the database using the wrong procedures. The response of the ministry has been to issue a new order in accordance with what they now consider to be the correct procedures to legitimise the database. They have also stated that they don't accept the substantive arguments about excessive personal data collection or excessive length of retention. The NGOs have responded with a call for the government to respect immigrants rights though I suspect they'll have to start briefing their lawyers again if they want to have any real impact on the latest developments.

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