France will follow tough but humane immigration policy

Newly-appointed French interior minister Christophe Castaner said France will not act as an appeal court for asylum seekers. In an interview with French weekly le Journal du Dimanche on 21 October 2018, Castaner added that around one-third of the asylum seekers in France have already been rejected by another country in the European Union (EU).

“We do not want to be used as an appeal court for those whose asylum application has already been rejected by the likes of Germany or Italy,” he said, adding that France will follow a tough but humane immigration policy.

Castaner, who was appointed as interior minister on 16 October 2018, wants stronger measures on border control, especially with Spain, which has received more migrants than any other country in the EU this year. Between January and 9 November 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that nearly 54,000 irregular migrants arrived in Spain, more than the combined total that arrived in Italy and Greece in the same time period.

“Migration flows to Spain have increased by 155 percent this year. The number of illegal immigrants turned away at the French-Spanish border had increased by 60 percent,” Castaner said. “While we must take a firm stance on illegal immigration and speed up deportations, I am well aware that we must show compassion as well,” he continued.

Castaner also plans to meet with his Italian counterpart, Matteo Salvini, after France was accused of dropping irregular migrants off in a border town in Italy. Far-right Italian interior minister Salvini released camera footage and photos on Twitter showing French police dropping off two migrants in the woods of the alpine border town Claviere, without informing local authorities. Salvini said he has now dispatched more police to patrol the border.   

“Italy is no longer fearful, resigned to being the refugee camp of Europe and to taking orders from Brussels and Berlin,” he said. “I am waiting for the French (interior) minister in Rome, but in the meantime, we will continue to patrol the borders. We are a country that has lifted its head up again: those who have not yet understood that should realise it.”

Italy’s tough approach has greatly reduced migrant arrivals. Over 22,000 migrants have travelled to Italy this year so far, compared to nearly 111,000 at the same point in time last year.

TMP – 18/11/2018

Photo credit: Shutterstock. Photo caption: French interior minister: France will not act as an appeal court for asylum seekers who have been rejected elsewhere.