French authorities quietly demolish migrant camps in Paris
A migrant camp, a collection of tents located in Saint-Denis, in which mainly Sudanese, Eritreans and Somalis lived, has been targeted by French law enforcement.
PARIS – For several weeks now, hundreds of migrants had been living there. In Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), the location was evacuated on Friday, January 25 in the morning, reported franceinfo because it had beome a public health issue.
According to French media, Le Figaro and AFP, less than a year after President Emmanuel Macron’s government promised to evacuate makeshift camps around Paris, the migrants have returned.
But the latest operation was calm and surgical, according to local news reports. Some 300 people, mostly from countries in the Horn of Africa, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia, were waiting with their bags and suitcases in hand.
Their camp consisted of many tents along President Wilson Avenue. They will be put up in accommodation centers in the Ile-de-France, such as gymnasiums, and they will be transported to their new living quarters by bus.
On Tuesday, January 22, at Porte de Clignancourt in the north of Paris, about 180 migrants, mostly from Afghanistan, were moved. They too had settled in a camp that had become unsanitary. In the coming weeks, evacuations are expected to intensify in this part of Paris.
In January alone, nearly 2,230 migrants (Afghans, Sudanese, Eritreans) were counted in the north of the capital by the association France terre d’asile, which deals with illegals. It is estimated that a thousand of them spend their nights at Porte de la Chapelle and half a thousand in Saint-Denis.
But another French charity told Le Figaro that there could be as many as 4,000 migrants on the streets by the end of winter.
Migrants from Afghanistan occupy at least 200 tents under a highway in the north of the city, while at Porte de Clignancourt, there are 250 Africans living on the sidewalks, keeping warm by open fires and Metro vents.
The Ile-de-France region (see map below) has seen a 45 percent increase in asylum seekers in 2018 and accommodations are “saturated” according to officials. An emergency plan will open up 1200 shelters for migrants “very soon”.
The sans-papiers – as the undocumented migrants are known – often play hide-and-seek games with the police to avoid detection. Seine-Saint-Denis (ER: see map – it is a very large suburb adjacent to Paris, located in the large Ile-de-France region which surrounds Paris) has long been the French department with the highest proportion of immigrants, but the number of illegals have been rising sharply.
Illegal immigrants, now estimated to make up a fifth of the population of Seine-Saint-Denis have been a severe strain on public services, according to a 2018 parliamentary report. Police, schools, courts and other public services are struggling to cope, the two MPs, Rodrigue Koukouendo and François Cornut-Gentilles, said in their report.
Le Figaro described the suburb as a place where “the incredible deterioration of social, economic and security conditions” is prevalent with 28 per cent of the population living below the poverty line.
The two MPs urged the government to review France’s ban on gathering data on the ethnic distribution of the population so that immigrant numbers can be better monitored and regulated.
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