The Strategist

French Interior Minister: France is not a good choice for migrants anymore

12/19/2017 - 13:50

French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb presented a draft law that tightens the rules for the admission of immigrants. The main differences from the current standards are acceleration of consideration of applications for political asylum, strengthening of control at the borders, as well as compulsory expulsion of those immigrants who violated the law.

Evan Bench
Evan Bench
In the summer, President Emmanuelle Macron promised that by the end of the year there will be no refugees in the streets of French cities, and all of them will be accommodated in the reception centers of immigrants. However, the situation has not changed dramatically. The other day, mayors of the country's largest cities (except Paris) addressed the French government with an open letter. They demand to clean up the immigration issues, complaining that the cities cannot cope with the influx of refugees.

The Interior Minister Gérard Collomb spoke with his proposals. He admitted that he is already now requiring his subordinates to speed up the process of expulsion of immigrants. According to the minister, the number of expelled from the country in 2018 should increase by 14% compared to the expiring year. Mr. Collomb defended unpopular decisions being attacked by opponents, who clearly suspected him of attempted freedom. This is how the numerous associations and unions of assistance to immigrants see the situation. They have already asked the representative of the government for human rights, Jacques Toubon, to intervene and speak out "in defense of basic human rights" and "against the violation of legal procedures."

The new bill assumes that the period for consideration of applications for asylum will be reduced more than twice (from 14 months to six months). The measures are meant to ensure that aliens who have refused asylum leave France on time (usually 30 days). In order to monitor the execution of the order to leave French territory, the legal term for keeping illegal immigrants under arrest (twice a month and a half) can be extended.

There is an increase in control at the borders, as well as mandatory expulsion from the country of those immigrants who violate the law. The need for this was confirmed earlier by President Macron. He referred to the example of an immigrant Tunisian, who on October 1 killed two young women at a train station in Marseilles. Shortly before the terrorist act, he was detained for petty theft, but then he was released.

The bill was to be discussed in the National Assembly (lower house of parliament) of France next week, but its consideration was eventually postponed to the spring of 2018.

Meanwhile, the police are already beginning to put things in order in social centers that accept immigrants. Gerard Collomb stated that this was done in order to unload overpopulated centers (now they contain 103 thousand people) and figure out who is in them: asylum seekers or illegal immigrants. The minister's position is that, by accepting all indiscriminately, one cannot help the really needy. "Now in France, we receive 95 thousand requests per year, this is the population of a large city," Mr. Collomb said.

However, there are many obstacles for adoption of new laws and their implementation. It is enough to file an application for asylum to stay in France until its consideration. It's hard to believe that prefectural workers, who do not stand up to the deadlines for considering even "normal" documents, will cope with the increased number of demands and hard deadlines. It is not easy to send out even a refused person. "You cannot be sent to your country if your life or your freedom is in danger there, if you can be tortured or humiliated," explain immigration lawyers, whom the government provides free of charge to those who believe their rights are violated. According to the Le Journal du Dimanche, out of 91,000 illegal immigrants detained this year, a little more than a third (31,000) were ordered to leave the country, only 25,000 executed it and only 12,100 did it willingly. Control in the reception centers, their employees say, will only lead to the fact that illegal immigrants will leave these centers and create new illegal camps.

Anyway, the government of France intends to at least give immigrants a sign that this country is not a good choice for them anymore.


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