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Forever Illegal? The Possibilities and Realities for Illegal Immigrants to Transcend their Status in Poland


The question of how to ensure basic human rights for people across political, cultural, and historical contexts has been the starting point for a vast amount of literature and heated debate. The essential premise, that the population of a given state deserves a debatable amount of something, is generally agreed upon; the rest is entirely contentious. What such a debate fails to capture, however, is the additional challenge of establishing human rights for those who are not recognized as part of the population at all. While it’s hardly unreasonable to argue that human rights should apply to all human beings, in practice it is infinitely more difficult. How does one ensure that the human rights of a group which doesn’t ”officially” exist are being satisfied? Around the world, governments are faced with the double-challenge of illegal immigration and human rights. With bodies such as the European Court of Human Rights asserting that the state is responsible for ensuring the human rights of any individual within its borders, some states have begun to search for ways to allow long-term illegal residents to legalize their status . 

Poland, as a European Union (EU) member state since 2004 and a member of the Schengen Zone since 2007, is among this group. One of the eastern border states of the EU, it has become a desirable destination for immigrants – legal and illegal – looking for a better standard of living and access to other western European states. Yet Poland has been home to communities of illegal immigrants since well before 2004. It is not uncommon to hear of groups of illegal immigrants, particularly Armenians, who have been living in Poland upwards of 10 or 15 years . Despite having settled or raised families, and often feeling more of a connection to Poland than their previous homes, these groups remain illegal with limited access to healthcare and education. Many are subject to labor exploitation, with no recourse other than turning themselves in to the authorities. The situation for newer illegal immigrants, of course, is no better. 

With its 2003 Act on Aliens  (amended in 2005 and again in 2007 ) and  Act on granting protection to Aliens within the territory of the Republic of Poland (amended in May 2008), the Polish government introduced two possibilities for illegal immigrants to gain some form of legal status in the country. The first was a fixed period of time when illegal immigrants who had resided continuously in Poland since 1997 could apply for a renewable legalization of their status – known as the ‘first abolition’. The second allowed for detained illegal immigrants who could not be expelled from Polish territory after one year to gain the status of ‘tolerated stay’. This paper will present an analysis of these measures’ potential and how close they have come in practice to achieving their aims. It will conclude by looking to a new European Parliament’s standpoint on illegal immigration, and what changes it might bring to the Polish status-quo. 

The First Abolition

When the 2003 Act on Aliens came into force on September 1st, 2003, it included Article 154, beginning the four month period of the first Polish abolition (herein referred to as the abolition). The law stated that an illegal immigrant who had continuously resided in Poland since January 31st,1997, could apply to receive a legal residence card valid for one year, with the possibility to renew the permit in the same manner as anyone else. Illegal immigrants had until December 31st, 2003, to file their application . The law also included the introduction of a so-called ‘small abolition’ (Article 155), providing illegal immigrants the opportunity to report themselves to the authorities within two months in exchange for the possibility to leave Poland without being detained or entered into any database . In effect, this gave them the chance to re-enter Poland legally whenever they wished, instead of facing the re-entry ban imposed on those who are deported.

Illegal immigrants who submitted an application for the abolition had to provide proof of several things to the authorities. The first was that they had in fact continuously resided in Poland for the full five and a half years; the second was that they had legal title to occupy some form of accommodation; the third was that they either had a promise of employment or a promise from an employer to apply for a work permit on their behalf; and the fourth was that they possessed enough income or property to support themselves and any dependents for a full year without requiring having to rely on state social assistance . 

At first glance, the fact that these requirements were presented in such general language could be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage for an illegal immigrant applying for the abolition. The manner in which they proved, for example, that they had resided in Poland for the required period of time was left up to them; whether it was acceptable or not was a discretionary decision made by the administrators of the individual Wojewoda (Provincial Governors) where the immigrants made their application. In interviews with NGO representatives who worked with illegal immigrants applying for the abolition, they recounted that some of the applicants used old transaction receipts or bills, many others used the expired visas which they had used to legally enter or work in Poland before becoming illegal, and a number of others presented a ‘witness’ who was able to testify that they had known the individual for the required amount of time . It would seem that the Polish authorities were in fact quite flexible in their interpretation of the requirements as well. According to statistics obtained upon request from the Office for Foreigners, 80% of the processed applications (those which were submitted with all the required information) were accepted .

Of course, while an 80% success rate sounds positive, the benefits of the abolition program can hardly be assessed without examining the number of applications which were submitted and exactly what rights the successful immigrants received. A total of 3,508 applications were received by the Polish authorities between September 1st and December 31st of 2003. Comparing this with the estimated 45,000 – 50,000 illegal immigrants in Poland in 2005, an article by the Migration Information Source called the policy “a failure” . Whether or not such a criticism is warranted depends largely on whether the low application rate is a product of poor publicity and access to information, or simply because an overwhelming number of illegal immigrants chose not to participate. Sources, such as the Migration Information Source  and some participants of a 2007 expert’s debate on abolition in Warsaw , placed a large amount of the blame on the shoulders of the Polish government; saying that information about the program was not made available to the majority of illegal immigrants. 

Father Edward Osiecki of the Warsaw Migrants’ Centre, however, offered an alternative thesis. He pointed out that for some illegal immigrants, especially those which are close-knit and well organized like Poland’s illegal Vietnamese community, there are few additional advantages to gaining legal status. Such illegal immigrants are generally able to find housing and employment within their communities, meaning that one of the few changes which would come with the legalization of their status would be a requirement to start paying taxes and making contributions to social services which they are not taking advantage of . For other illegal immigrants, there is a distinct lack of trust in the Polish authorities, with some expressing fear that the abolition program was simply an attempt to compile a list of illegal immigrants who could subsequently be deported . 

While one cannot generalize the attitudes of entire illegal immigrant communities based on the small number of applications for abolition, it is still interesting to note that the overwhelming number of applications came from two nationalities: 46% from Armenians, and 38% from Vietnamese. Together, the two groups combined to represent 84% of the abolition applications. The next largest national group to submit applications were Ukrainians, representing only 2.5% of all applications submitted. When all the abolition applications were finally processed in April 2005, Armenian and Vietnamese applicants represented almost the same percentage of successful applications as they represented total applications. Also notable is that 79% of Armenian applications were successful, as were 86% of Vietnamese applications – reasonably close to the overall success rate of 80% of applicants . It could be extrapolated from this information that the largest groups of long-term immigrants communities in Poland are Armenian or Vietnamese; while this has been supported by anecdotal evidence, there are no reliable statistics to confirm such a hypothesis.

Another important aspect of the abolition program to consider when assessing its potential and practical impact is the legal status which successful applicants received, and the rights which are inherent in it. In the case of the Polish abolition, successful applicants were not placed in a special category of residents created specifically for that purpose. Rather, they were issued a one-year “permit to settle for a fixed period of time”, under Article 53 of the Act on Aliens . This permit – in effect a temporary visa – can be issued for a variety of reasons, such as work, study, or being a family member of a Polish citizen or long-term resident. It can be granted for up to 2 years at a time, at which point it needs to be renewed by demonstrating that the purpose for which it was issued is still valid. This creates an interesting situation for recipients of abolition, as they cannot simply have their permit renewed because they were granted abolition the year before. Instead, they have one year to qualify for one of the options listed under Article 53. For most of these, they are also required to prove that they have a continued source of income. Moreover, they must apply for a renewal no later than 45 days before the expiry of their permit.

It should be noted that while one way to meet the requirements of Article 53 is through employment, by virtue of being granted the “permit to settle for a fixed period of time”, the individual does not obtain a de facto work visa. Instead, their prospective employer is required to apply for this on their behalf, which, according to Bartosz Smoter, an advocacy lawyer at the Warsaw Migrants’ Centre, can be difficult in certain situations where the employer needs to prove that there is no one able to fill the position that does not require a permit to work. Despite this, however, Mr. Smoter asserted that the wide range of reasons for which the “permit for a fixed period of time” can be renewed meant that most of those who were granted abolition did not have trouble after one year. He also referred to Paragraph 5, Section 2, of Article 53, which allows the permit to be issued to someone who “demonstrates that due to the circumstances other than referred to … his / her residence on the territory of the Republic of Poland is justified within the period exceeding 3 months.”  This provision, argued Mr. Smoter, in combination with legal assistance from an organization like the Migrants’ Centre, allows an immigrant renewing their permit the possibility to successfully plead their specific circumstances before the authorities . 

In 2007, Poland introduced a second abolition, as an amendment to the 2003 Act on Aliens. The second abolition was intended only for those who did not apply for the first abolition in 2003, so previously unsuccessful applicants were excluded . It was also, in a sense, more restrictive than the previous abolition because applicants were required to prove that they had resided in Poland since 1997 – i.e. for almost ten years instead of five and a half. The law did make the application process more accessible, however, by allowing six instead of four months for illegal immigrants to submit their applications. Applicants were also permitted to have been absent from Polish territory for periods of up to six months, provided that the total time away did not exceed ten months. Under these requirements, only 1,263 applications were received by the Polish authorities. Again, Vietnamese applications made up 54% of that number, while Armenian applications were another 30% . At the time of writing, decisions were still being processed, so it is as yet unclear how many applicants will be successful in receiving a “permit to settle for a fixed period of time”. However, with current estimates of the illegal immigrant population in Poland between 80,000 and 100,000 people , the aggregate impact can only be marginal. 

Detention and Tolerated Stay

Other than abolition, there is a second way that illegal immigrants can receive legal status from the Polish government. Ironically, it requires them to first be detained by the authorities and then to spend 12 months in a detention centre. In the 2003 Act on granting protection to Aliens within the territory of the Republic of Poland, Article 97 introduced the measure of tolerated stay as a form of legal status for detained illegal immigrants in two specific cases. 

Several of the rights obtained by an illegal immigrant who is granted tolerated stay are different from those who receive the “permit to settle for a fixed period of time” under the abolition program. Recipients of tolerated stay have the right to work or run a business activity in Poland without a permit, the right to social security, family, maternity, and medical benefits from the state, the right to health insurance from the National Health Fund (NFZ), and the right to register as unemployed and receive benefits as such. While they receive a Polish identification card, they are not permitted to travel outside of Poland . Immigrants who receive tolerated stay, like those who received the “permit to settle for a fixed period of time” under abolition, are required to renew their status each year. However, in the case of those enjoying tolerated stay, the renewal process is quite straight forward. This being said, if authorities discover that an illegal immigrant who was granted tolerated stay because they could not be deported does in fact have a travel document or other identification, the tolerated stay status can be withdrawn and the immigrant deported .

Another important difference for those residing in Poland under tolerated stay is that, if they successfully renew their status for 10 years, they can apply for a “permit to settle”. This document, although it can be withdrawn under certain circumstances, does not need to be renewed by the immigrant . Furthermore, holders of the permit to settle can, after an additional 5 years, apply for a “long-term resident’s European Community residence permit”, providing them with further opportunities throughout the European Union .

The first case when a detained illegal immigrant can receive tolerated stay is when their expulsion
may be effected only to a country where his/her right to life, to freedom and personal safety could be under threat, where he/she could be subjected to tortures or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, or could be forced to work or deprived the right to fair trial, or could be punished without any legal grounds – within the meaning of the Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms . 

Currently, in Poland, a large number of immigrants from Chechnya have received tolerated stay status under this provision, because while they do not qualify for refugee status, (or instead chose simply to enter Poland illegally) they cannot be sent back to Chechen territory . 

The second situation granting tolerated stay is much more frequently applied to detained illegal immigrants. It states that immigrants detained for the purpose of deportation will be given tolerated stay if their expulsion “is unenforceable due to reasons beyond the authority executing the decision on expulsion or beyond this alien” . In other words, if Polish authorities are unable to deport the immigrant within the maximum 12 months of his/her detention (the detention must be re-approved every 3 months by a court, up to a maximum of one year’s total detention), the immigrant is entitled to receive the status of tolerated stay. In reality, this is not entirely uncommon. In order for an immigrant to be deported, they must have a travel document or another proof of their identity. If they are unable (or unwilling) to provide this, then it is up to the Polish authorities to verify their identity by contacting embassy or consular officials from their (presumed) country of origin. Aside from the difficulty of attempting to prove the identity of the immigrant, in interviews with Mr. Grzegorz Sikora of the Helsinki Foundation and Mr. Smoter, it was suggested that many times embassy or consular officials are less than enthused about helping to indentify detained immigrants . Especially if the officials believe that the immigrant could be a burden on the social security resources of the country, or a possible source of crime, they have little incentive to aid the return of the immigrant to their country.

Despite the fact that illegal immigrants who cannot be deported after 12 months are meant to receive tolerated stay status, this process is done ex officio, that is, it cannot be initiated by the immigrant, but instead must be completed by the authorities at each detention centre. Because of this, especially in the first years of the policy, cases were reported of immigrants who were released after 12 months, but without any legal status. In these instances, they were again illegal immigrants who could potentially be detained for another 12 months. The issue of illegal immigrants being detained beyond one year reached the Supreme Court in September 2007, through the case of Asmina S, who had been detained 3 months beyond the legal maximum. The court ruled that 12 months was indeed the total maximum an illegal immigrant could be detained, not just the maximum for one period of detention . In an interview, Andrzej Pilaszkiewicz, Head of the Board for Aliens’ Issues at the Headquarters for the Border Guards, suggests that in light of the law on granting tolerated stay, reinforced by the court decision, his office was moving to implement a policy whereby an application for tolerated stay is submitted for all illegal immigrants in detention centres, ex officio, after being held for 11 months . This idea was applauded in a separate interview with Mr. Sikora as a way to ensure that this legal provision is better enforced .

Statistics for 2007 obtained upon request from the Polish Border Guards Headquarters provide an insight into how many illegal immigrants were detained for expulsion due to a lack of proper identification, how many were expelled from Polish territory, and the number of applications which were made and granted concerning tolerated stay. In 2007, a total of 3,030 illegal immigrants were expelled from Polish territory either to third countries or another EU member state under the Dublin II regulations, which dictate that an asylum seeker must have their application processed in the first EU country they enter. 1,316 illegal immigrants were held in detention centers for the purpose of expulsion because their identity was unable to be confirmed. 509 of these were from Ukraine, 215 from Vietnam, 173 from Armenia, and 115 from Belarus. Statistics also show that officials at detention centers made 195 ex officio applications for tolerated stay in 2007. While it is unclear how many of these were granted or denied (though our research would indicate that almost all of them should have been granted), the total number of tolerated stay permits issued in 2007 was 222 .

A proposed change concerning tolerated stay which is not considered so positive by human rights NGOs is currently being discussed in the Polish parliament. Some politicians have proposed an amendment to Article 97 in the Act on granting protection to Aliens within the territory of the Republic of Poland, specifically concerning Paragraph 1, Section 2. As was explained above, this piece of the legislation currently reads that an illegal immigrant will be given tolerated stay if their expulsion “is unenforceable due to reasons beyond the authority executing the decision on expulsion or beyond this alien” . The proposed amendment will change this sentence to read “is unenforceable due to reasons beyond the authority executing the decision on expulsion and beyond this alien”. The impact that such a change could have is debatable. Some migrant’s rights advocates, such as Mr. Sikora of the Helsinki Foundation, expressed concern that the change could place undue responsibility on the part of the immigrant to show that their embassy or consul is unable to verify their identity. He also spoke of experiences where embassy or consul officials were very uncooperative in dealing with immigrants, even in verifying that the immigrant had contacted them. This raises the fear that even an immigrant with good intentions may be unable to prove that they had attempted to verify their identity . The opposite side of the argument, however, is that it could be just as difficult to prove that the illegal immigrant did not make an ‘adequate’ effort to try and obtain some form of identification. And with the Supreme Court having explicitly stated that the detention of an illegal immigrant cannot exceed 12 months in total, there seems to be little option other than for the authorities to grant the immigrant tolerated stay after that period of time.

The European Context

While for the time being Polish migration policy is primarily a domestic affair, as an EU member state there are signs that in the future this policy area will be increasingly directed by Brussels. In 2004, the European Council adopted the multi-annual Hague Programme, which includes efforts to establish a comprehensive and common policy against illegal immigration . In 2006, the European Commission approved a communiqué outlining its “Policy priorities in the fight against illegal immigration of third country nationals” . The communiqué outlines nine priority areas, including: cooperation with third countries; secure and integrated border management; fighting against human trafficking; and the creation of a common return policy, further stating that, “Return, in full respect of fundamental rights, remains a cornerstone of EU migration policy. An effective return policy is key in ensuring public support for elements such as legal migration and asylum.”  

One of the first concrete steps in this effort occurred on June 17th, 2008, when the European Parliament adopted a directive on the return of illegal immigrants. Set to be approved by the European Council in July, the directive includes three key points. First, when an illegal immigrant is detained, they will have the option to leave the country under a “voluntary departure period”, which will last between 7 and 30 days, depending on the country. Second, if they fail to leave the country within the voluntary departure period, a removal order will be issued which allows the illegal immigrant to be detained for up to six months before their detention is reassessed. If the order is issued by an administrative instead of a judicial authority, the government will be obliged to receive a court approval “as speedily as possible”. (The original directive, which stated the court had to approve the detention within 72 hours, was amended). After six months of detention, the court will have the option to approve up to 12 additional months of detention, for a maximum of 18 months. Third, the EU directive states that if an illegal immigrant is deported under a removal order, they will be subject to a re-entry ban across the European Union of up to five years. While the European Parliament stressed that member states would be welcome to adopt more lenient policies in this field, they would also have the option to match the standards set out in the directive. 

The new directive was met with a mix of outrage by some international and European human rights groups, and a largely indifferent reaction by Polish NGOs dealing with migrants’ rights. A statement by Amnesty International offered harsh criticism of the directive, stating that it “does not guarantee the return of irregular migrants in safety and dignity. On the contrary, an excessive period of detention of up to 1.5 years as well as an EU-wide re-entry ban for those forcibly returned, risks lowering existing standards in the Member States and sets an extremely bad example to other regions in the world”. It took further issue with the lack of a specific time-period for judicial approval of a removal order and the possibility for avoiding the standards in unspecified ‘emergency situations’ .

In contrast, when asked during interviews about the potential impact of the directive in Poland, members of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Warsaw Migrants’ Centre largely downplayed its influence on the situation for illegal immigrants in Poland. They stated that in their experience, if a detained illegal immigrant could not obtain documents proving their identity after six months, it would be unlikely that anything would change in the following months. Thus a decision by the Polish government to extend the length of detention to 18 months would be irrational, they argued, as it would do little more than cost the state money and fill places in the detention centers . 

The 2006 European Commission communiqué on fighting illegal immigration also identified “addressing regularizations” – known in the Polish context as abolition – as one of its nine priority areas. After reiterating that regularizations of illegal immigrants are currently a policy choice of individual member states, the communiqué comments on some of the “large-scale regularizations programmes” which EU member states have undertaken in the past few years. It continues, “These national measures have given rise to expressions of concern and interest in other Member States. Furthermore, such measures may have implications for other Member States as a consequence of the abolition of internal border controls within the Schengen area” . This statement is then followed by a subsequent reminder that EU policy currently allows the possibility for “third-country nationals to move to and reside in another Member State after five years of legal residence in the first Member State of residence” .

Compared to the strong endorsement of a policy of return for illegal immigrants, these statements could be called cautious at best. In order to assess how the Polish model of abolition might compare to a future EU policy on regularization, it is useful to place it in a broader European context. Unfortunately, this is hardly straightforward. In 2006, the European Commission noted “the lack of sound evidence and up-to-date information…on current practices, effects and impacts of regularization measures in Member States” . There are, however, some distinctive examples which highlight the current policy diversity with regards to illegal immigration in the EU. In an interview at the Centre of Migration Research at the University of Warsaw, Dr Magdalena Lesińska proposed that there are some regional similarities which can also be identified . On one end of the spectrum are southern European countries, which face some of the highest levels of illegal immigration in the EU. Italy, Portugal, Greece and Spain have had regularized abolition programs since the 1980s, collectively carrying out 15 abolitions in the past 20 years, according to an article by the New York Times. Six of these have occurred in Spain alone, which at times has had an illegal immigrant population equivalent to 10% of its legal population. In February 2005, Spain carried out one of the largest abolition programs in recent history, granting amnesty to nearly 600,000 illegal immigrants . Arguing that millions of Euros in tax revenue were being lost, Spain placed minimal requirements on its abolition program. The BBC reported that applicants who had arrived in Spain at least seven months previously were required to provide a six-month work contract and register at their local town hall and social security office in order to be eligible for Spanish residency, including the right to live and work legally in the country .

On the other end of the migration policy spectrum are the countries of Western and Northern Europe, who tend to have a much more conservative approach to illegal immigration. While this can in part be attributed to domestic political considerations, it no doubt also reflects the fact that the stronger economies of these countries, when compared to those of Southern Europe, make them very attractive destinations for newly legalized migrants with the right to move and settle throughout the European Union. This argument was strongly pushed by Nicolas Sarkozy as France’s interior minister in 2005, when he blasted the Spanish abolition policy, saying “You cannot tell Europe that you will, unilaterally, decide to give papers to half a million illegal immigrants and then call on it for help when you are trying to deal with the consequences” .

Dr. Lesińska also pointed to the rather mixed approach of countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Slovakia, as another EU eastern border state, has adopted a fairly strict policy on illegal immigrants, while Hungary, which claims a small part of the EU ‘external border’, introduced a rather relaxed abolition policy for illegal immigrants who had resided there for one year but could demonstrate a knowledge of local culture and language . 

When placed beside these other European examples, Poland’s policies towards illegal immigrants appear to be fairly moderate. While its abolitions have been quite conservative when compared to those of some EU states, it has nevertheless completed two since 2003 and maintains the policy of tolerated stay for those immigrants who cannot be deported after one year (which, with time, can allow recipients to settle throughout the European Union). How these policies will compare to an eventual common policy on illegal immigration – if, skeptics repeat, such a thing can ever be created  – remains an open question.


In examining the opportunities which illegal immigrants in Poland have had to legalize their status, and the effectiveness of these programs, a mixed picture emerges. The Polish Abolitions of 2003 and 2007 were, on one hand, a generous opportunity for long-term illegal immigrants to legalize their status. On the other, a combination of restrictive conditions for immigrants to qualify for the program, poor advertising, and the fact that some illegal immigrants saw little advantage to legalization meant that the impact of the program was minimal compared to the estimated population of illegal immigrants in the country. For those who did successfully apply, the “permit to settle for a fixed period of time” gave them legal status but still presented additional challenges for the recipients to work and live in Poland. Nevertheless, the approval rate for qualified applicants was quite high, suggesting that the program achieved its practical aims if not its rhetorical ones.

The rights of those granted tolerated stay are much closer to that of a ‘normal’ Polish resident, but in order to qualify illegal immigrants have to have been detained and then spend 12 months in a detention centre awaiting expulsion. Clearly, such a situation is far from ideal for many illegal immigrants, even if it could lead to the legalization of their status. Still, the recognition by Polish authorities that the repeated detention of illegal immigrants who cannot be deported is no longer a viable policy should be noted as a positive development. 

Today, the challenge of ensuring basic standards for an undocumented population remains as complex as ever. Poland’s steps of limited abolition and tolerated stay are certainly moves towards improving the situation for some illegal immigrants; however the broader European debate illustrates that simply documenting the entirety of an undocumented population is as flawed an answer as doing nothing at all. Perhaps more than anything else, the Polish example illustrates the challenge and importance of striving for a policy balance which can ensure sustainability as much as it reflects the ideals of human rights.



Biuletyn Migracyjny, University of Warsaw, No. 13 June/July 2007, 
http://www.biuletynmigracyjny.uw.edu.pl/DodatekBM13Debata.pdf [accessed 30/06/2008]
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland, “The Refugee Status in Poland and Tolerated Stay 
Permit”, 2005
Migration Information Service, “EU Membership Highlights Poland's Migration Challenges”, April 2005. 
http://www.migrationinformation.org/feature/display.cfm?ID=302 [accessed 30/06/2008]

Legal Acts:

Council of Europe, European Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1, 1953
2007 Amendment of the Act on Aliens, Article 18, 
http://isip.sejm.gov.pl/servlet/Search?todo=file&id=WDU20071200818&type=2&name=D20070818.pdf [accessed 30/06/2008]
2003 Act on Aliens
http://www.udsc.gov.pl/files/old_file/44e9bdd07d1b8_1-44043372d9359_cudzoziemcy.pdf [accessed 30/06/2008]
Act on granting protection to Aliens within the territory of the Republic of Poland, 2003 
[accessed 30/06/2008]


DeParle, Jason, “Spain, Like U.S., Grapples With Immigration”, New York Times, 10/06/2008
Tremlett, Giles “Sarkozy sparks immigrants row with Spain”, The Guardian, 29/09/2006


Amnesty International, “Amnesty International EU Office Reaction to Return Directive Vote”, 18/06/2008.
 http://www.aieu.be/static/html/pressrelease.asp?cfid=7&id=366&cat=4 [accessed 30/06/2008]
BBC News Online, “Spain launches immigrant amnesty”, 7/02/2005. 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4242411.stm [accessed 30/06/2008]
European Commission, “Communication from the Commission on Policy priorities in the fight against illegal immigration of third-country nationals”, 19/07/2006.
[accessed 30/06/2008]
European Commission, “Justice and Home Affairs – Freedom, Security, and Justice – Illegal 
Immigration”, July 2006. http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/fsj/immigration/illegal/fsj_immigration_illegal_en.htm
[accessed 30/06/2008]
European Parliament, Post-Briefing item, Immigration , “Parliament adopts directive on return of illegal immigrants”, 23/06/2008.
[accessed 30/06/2008]
Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland, www.sn.pl/aktual/1.html [accessed 30/06/2008]


Biś, Justyna, Office of the General Director of the Office of Foreigners, Email to author 1/07/2008
Lesińska, Magdalena , Centre of Migration Research of the University of Warsaw, Personal Interview 2/07/2008
Osiecki, Edward, Warsaw Migrants Centre, Personal Interview 28/06/2008
Pilaszkiewicz, Andrzej, Head of the Board for Aliens’ Issues at the Headquarters for the Border Guards, 
Personal interview 26/06/2008 and Email to author 27/06/2008
Sikora, Grzegorz, Legal Assistance for Refugees and Migrants Program, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland, Personal Interview 1/07/2008
Smoter, Bartosz, Legal Advocate, Warsaw Migrants Centre, Personal Interview 30/06/2008 
Wilga, Grzegorz, Legal Intervention Centre, Warsaw, Personal Interview 26/06/2008 


Andrzejczak, Olivia, Lecture for Humanity in Action Poland Core Program, 19/06/2008 

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