Migrants' Rights Network

EU Finger-Printing System for Migrants Comes Under Review

Eurodac, the electronic and biometric centerpiece of the EU asylum application system, will be reviewed by the EU Parliament, Deutsche Welle reports. When someone first applies for asylum, regardless of where they are in the EU, their fingerprints are stored on the Eurodac central system.

Some of the main issues the Eurodac system has been facing are: 

  • The difficulty of certain countries to cope with the volume of asylum applications: At the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, Greek authorities estimated that more than a third of the people arriving on the Greek islands were not fingerprinted . Similarly, German authorities back in 2015 could not keep up with the numbers. According to the European Commission, over the last few years this has led to a situation where “thousands of migrants have remained invisible in Europe, including thousands of unaccompanied minors […].”
  • Arbitrary categorisations: Each EU country has its own rules for processing asylum claims, which have to be compliant with EU principles. However, researchers such as Vanessa Ferarris at Turin University have found that different countries are making different decisions on the same people and randomly deciding whether they are an asylum seeker or someone irregularly crossing the border.

The proposals for Eurodac reform – outlined in a policy briefing here – seem to be heading toward reinforced securitization, holding data on asylum seekers for longer, and making it more easily accessible to third parties. This goes against long-standing arguments by human rights groups that the system already treats asylum seekers like criminals. 

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Fabien Cante

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