The PSD wants to hear from the Minister of Internal Affairs about “worrying situations that put border control and national security at risk”, just over a month after the extinction of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).
In a petition released today, the Social Democrats state that “several reports have come to light denouncing worrying situations that put border control and national security at risk”, a month after “the pulverization of SEF’s competencies” by various security forces and services and the creation of two new entities, the Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA) and the Border and Foreigners Coordination Unit (UCFE).
Specifically, the PSD refers to a report published on Friday by the weekly newspaper Expresso, which quotes an internal GNR document according to which “foreign citizens who arrive in Portugal in an irregular situation are not detained and only receive a note to report to the newly created AIMA on an agreed date”, whenever they are detected at weekends, on public holidays and on working days after 8pm and before 8am the following morning.
“The lack of personnel and organization, the lack of supervision in controlling the entry of migrants, the failures in issuing passports and in passing information between the various police forces, are not just ‘transition difficulties’,” the PSD believes.
The party argued that this news “cannot be ignored and must be urgently explained by those in charge of the government, in this case, the Minister of Internal Affairs”, José Luís Carneiro, asking for an urgent hearing in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees.
SEF was abolished on October 29 and its powers were transferred to seven bodies.
While police powers have been transferred to the PSP, GNR and Judiciary Police, the administrative functions related to foreign citizens are now with the new AIMA and the Institute of Registration and Notary Affairs (IRN).
AIMA, which inherited around 300,000 pending immigrant legalization cases from SEF, also took over the competencies of the High Commissioner for Migration in terms of immigrant reception and integration.
As part of this process, there was also a new configuration of the Portuguese border control system, with the creation of the Borders and Foreigners Coordination Unit, which would work under the Secretary General of the Internal Security System.
The restructuring of the SEF was decided by the previous PS government and approved in Parliament in November 2021, having been postponed twice.