Police clear informal migrant camps in Paris

French police evacuated over 1,000 migrants living in four makeshift camps in northern Paris in the last 10 days of January 2019, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).

The irregular migrants, mainly from Afghanistan and various African countries, were living in four makeshift camps in the areas of Porte de Clignancourt, Avenue Wilson, Porte de la Chapelle and La Villette.

The fourth of these operations took place in an informal camp under a bridge next to the “Peripherique” ring road that circles Paris. Nearly 300 migrants from that camp were evacuated early 29 January 2019. City authorities said that migrants consented to being moved on a “voluntary basis” and would be taken to shelters around the city. It added that this is an effort to bring everyone indoors during the winter.

“They will get a medical check, and then we will be looking at their administrative situation and according to their rights, they will be sent to centres,” said Bruno Andre, a local official. “For the past few weeks, we have been regularly sending people to shelters all over the Paris region — these people are then given a place to stay, and today, 299 people were willing to be dealt with.”

France has now shortened the processing time for asylum applications to two months, despite the highest number of applicants in four decades. Approximately 64 per cent of those applications are rejected, which means migrants will have to leave Europe or return to the EU country they first arrived in.

France has also been clearing migrant camps in Paris and along the northern coast, following a spike in the number of people attempting irregular crossings of the English Channel to the UK. Both the French and British governments have tightened control and toughened measures on both sides of the English Channel to discourage people from risking their lives. British authorities have also begun returning irregular migrants arriving in the UK to France.

TMP – 11/02/2019

Photo credit: Thomas Samson / AFP. Photo caption: Migrants and refugees gather their belongings as they prepare for the evacuation of a makeshift camp between Porte de la Villette and Porte de la Chapelle, northern Paris, on January 31, 2019.