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Draft amendment to Immigration Act slated for legislative review

The Legislative Yuan's Internal Administration Committee yesterday reviewed a draft amendment to the Immigration Act and forwarded the article for debate in cross-party negotiations.

According to the Immigration Act as it currently stands, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) may detain foreigners who are waiting to be deported, have entered Taiwan without permission or have temporarily overstayed their visas.

The act will expire on Feb. 6. As the current article does not grant foreigners immediate judicial relief after they are temporarily taken in by the NIA, which also possess the right to extend the period of the foreigners' stay without court approval, the act violates the Constitution's protection of freedom, Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 708 noted.

The Cabinet's draft amendment had been sent to the Legislature before the act was interpreted by the Grand Justice, and the contents of the draft - which mainly call for a relaxation on restrictions concerning foreigners in Taiwan — did not include the section which was shown to have violated the Constitution.

Despite Kuomintang Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai's (陳其邁) prior proposal of amendments regarding the judicial interpretation, the Cabinet is still reviewing the Ministry of Interior's version of the amendment and will not submit a draft to the Legisaltive Yuan until next week, said Interior Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源).

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