South American heads of state have ended a regional summit with a fierce attack on EU immigration policies. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told the Mercosur meeting in Argentina that Europe had “legalized barbarism.” The EU laws, due to come into force in 2010, could see illegal immigrants held for up to 18 months and face a five-year ban on re-entry if expelled. The summit also voiced concerns about rising global food prices. In a joint declaration, they rejected “every effort to criminalize irregular migration and the adoption of restrictive immigration policies, in particular against the most vulnerable sectors of society, women and children.” (BBC)

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