Paris—France’s interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy has indicated he intends in 2006 to deport some 25,000 foreigners without proper papers, continuing a policy of increasing the number of such expulsions each year. Addressing the French Senate’s commission on illegal immigration, Sarkozy also announced a tightening of rules governing asylum seekers.
In 2006, temporary accommodation will no longer automatically be provided to asylum seekers if they turn down the accommodation offered them, Sarkozy announced. And if their application for asylum is rejected, the asylum-seeker will now have 15 days instead of one month to appeal the decision, he said.
“I have embarked on a policy of systematically sending people back,” Sarkozy told the commission. “The number of deportations of foreigners without proper papers which have been carried out has risen strongly,” he continued.
A total 10,000 deportations were carried out in 2002, 12,000 in 2003, and 15,000 in 2004, he noted. “There are going to be more than 20,000 in 2005, and I have set a target of 25,000 for 2006,” Sarkozy said.
An estimated 80,000-100,000 illegal immigrants arrive in France annually, according to Sarkozy. This compares with an annual 16,000-17,000 irregular migrants currently arriving in Italy per year. The income of traffickers involved in illegal immigration from Africa to Europe amounted to between one-quarter and one-third of the income generated by international drug trafficking, Sarkozy stated.
Sarkozy also criticised the regularisation of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants by the Spanish and Italian governments as “dangerous”, the French AFP news agency reported. “In the context of the freedom of movement, these large-scale regularisations are dangerous because they produce a considerable inward pull across Europe,” the agency quoted him as saying.