Russia's Interior Ministry is for bringing illegal migrants to court, Colonel Victor Papsuyev, sector head in the Russian Interior Ministry's criminal investigation department, told a news briefing on Friday.
According to him, this measure is needed to nip in the bud crimes committed in Russia by migrants.
At the present time, Papsuyev said illegal migration into Russia has reached "threatening proportions": over the past 10 years the country has been entered by between 700,000 and 1.5 million migrants -- foreign nationals and stateless persons. Papsuyev said that particularly worrying is the fact that Russia is becoming a transshipment point for illegal migration.
In this connection the colonel expressed concern that at present all migrants bear only administrative responsibility. Papsuyev said that Interior Ministry representatives are planning to send to the State Duma (lower house of parliament) draft amendments and additions to existing laws in order that the "illegals" should bear criminal responsibility from now on.
"We do not propose imprisoning illegal migrants for five years. Let the punishment be fines, conditional sentences or 1 to 2 years of prison terms," Papsuyev said. However, the extent of punishment is to be determined by State Duma deputies, he concluded.