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French President’s Controversial Immigration Policy Under Scrutiny

French President’s Controversial Immigration Policy Under Scrutiny  French President’s Controversial Immigration Policy Under Scrutiny

French President Emmanuel Macron will defend his controversial immigration policy on Tuesday in the northern port of Calais, long a magnet for refugees and migrants trying to reach Britain.

France’s centrist president, who campaigned for open borders in last year’s election, has since drawn criticism for his government’s uncompromising attitude towards migrants sleeping rough on the streets of Calais and Paris, AFP reported.

France received a record 100,000 asylum claims last year, making it one of Europe’s top destinations.

Macron has promised to speed up waiting times for asylum applications while also stepping up expulsions of those who remain in France after being turned down for refugee status—an approach he touts as mixing “efficiency” and “humanity”.

NGOs, trade unions and left wing parties take a different view, often accusing him of wielding an iron fist in a velvet glove.

The police in Calais routinely break up the camps of migrants who descend on the region to try and stow away on trucks crossing the Channel to Britain, a favorite destination for Afghans and east Africans.

Hundreds of migrants are still massed in the area, over a year after the former Socialist government bulldozed the Jungle, a squalid makeshift camp in Calais, and moved its more than 7,000 occupants to shelters nationwide.

In December, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb further raised the hackles of migrant support groups by ordering ID checks in emergency shelters, sparking fears of a witch hunt against failed asylum seekers.

Macron on Tuesday vowed that France would not allow another migrant camp like the infamous “Jungle” to develop in Calais.

“In no case will we allow another ‘Jungle’ here,” he said, adding that he wanted to negotiate with Britain a better police cooperation to handle the migrants in Calais and more money from the UK to help develop the city. He also wants Britain to take in more unaccompanied minors.

Some in France see the situation in Calais as one of Britain’s making, given that the most of the migrants who descend on the area are desperate to reach England.

 

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