As we have witnessed during the last few years, European governments basically came up with three ways of dealing with the new wave of illegal migration : some built fences, stopped the migrants at their borders and relentlessly worked to deport those who managed to slip through the cracks. Others opened their doors wide, and then realised they had made a political mistake, and finally, some just acted like it was nothing and tried to pretend the « migrant crisis » would end soon while stammering vague calls to humanism. Of those three categories, this last one is without doubt the most cowardly one, because it lacks the nerve and the sense of duty of the first, and the absolute sense of moral superiority of the second : the centrist way, in many aspects.
Unfortunately, the latest French administrations never belonged to the first category, but rather to the last one.
The various governments lead by former president François Hollande never seemed keen on fulfilling the objectives set by the 2015 European quotas for the relocalisation of refugees within the union, despite officially approving the concept. Indeed, at the end of Hollande’s term, less than 22% of the total number of refugees France was supposed to take in had effectively been taken in.
The result was that France increasingly seemed to behave like a free rider, promoting refugees quotas for all EU members and chastizing east-European countries for not abiding by these new rules, while simultaneously being very far from reaching its own refugee quota and showing no real desire to do so.
One thing we must thank newly elected president Macron for is the clarification of France’s stance on the management of refugees on the European level : France is now fully on board. He announced early in his term that France was going to open more refugee centers, fulfil its EU enforced objectives and spend more money for the processing of asylum requests and the well-being of refugees. Moreover, he strongly advocated for sanctions on eastern-European countries refusing to comply.
A few months later, in order to maintain appearances as a balanced and centre-leaning leader, he annonced some new measures aiming to fight against illegal migration and false asylum claims.
Of course, almost all of these measures were smokescreens, and would in practice mean little to no change at all. What’s more, the budget dedicated to the deportation of illegal aliens was recently decreased, despite the record estimated number of illegal migrants in the country ( 300 000 in just one Parisian suburb ). Of course, those estimations made by local authorities exceed by far the official statistics from the French interior ministry, that recently talked about only 300’000 to 400’000 illegal immigrants residing in the whole country…
It is a well documented fact that France proceeds to very few deportations. Around only 15’000 in 2017. In total, 26’000 illegal migrants left France, either wilfully or forced to do so. Of course, there is much dysfunction here, too. For example, among the 91’000 illegals who were caught by the police last year, only 31’000 were summoned to leave. What’s more, only 4% of failed asylum seekers were effectively sent back home in 2014. Trends suggest it has not changed since then.
To make matters worse, French law stipulates that an illegal migrant leaving France on his own can ask for financial help, that can range from 600 to 2’000€ in one single payment. It is rumored than many Bosnians, Albanians or Northern Africans are abusing the system, by simply coming back to France and asking for the aid once again. Legally speaking, nothing prevents them from doing so…
President Macron talked during one of his recent interviews about Stephen Smith’s book, in which the American researcher describes what he sees as an « africanisation » of Europe driven by the out-of-control African population boom. Macron is therefore fully aware of the dire situation France and Europe are in, and still he and his administration keep loosening laws on illegal migration.
As I mentioned it in my last article, Macron’s majority in parliament recently voted to scrap what no-borders activists liked to call « Offence of solidarity » : basically the set of laws making it illegal to shelter illegal immigrants in undeclared locations or to offer them car rides while being aware of their illegal situation. The task of police officers and immigration law enforcers will therefore be much harder, since no-border and anarchist activists will have free hands to legally shelter them in their homes or drive them around to escape controls.
The equivalent of the US SCOTUS, the French Constitutional Council, put the nail in the coffin when they declared in July 2018 that any legislation outlawing individuals from providing « selfless » aid to illegal migrants was unconstitutional and contrary to the fundamental principles of the republic.
To deliver such an absurd and out-of-touch decision, the non-elected average 72 year old council members relied entirely on their very own definition of what « fraternity » had to be about ( fraternity being a component of the republican motto « liberty, equality, fraternity » ). Any government will now have to modify the constitution or scrap the Constitutional Council ( which will require a modification of the constitution as well ) if it wants to do anything about leftists activists inciting new waves of migrants to come and violate our borders by promising them shelter and help of all sorts.
There could not possibly be a worse time to take such a decision. At the very hour where our country is only beginning to face the premises of the biggest challenge Europe has ever known on illegal migration, legislators are deserting the battlefield, if not siding with the invaders.
The biggest blow against proper border enforcement was however struck in 2012, when Francois Hollande’s new administration moved to discard the offense of illegal stay on French soil. You read me correctly, it is no longer an offence to break in our country or to overstay your visa since 2012. Consequently, illegal migrants are no longer prosecuted, despite their presence still being illegal… In practice, this means no possibility for police officers to keep them in custody, and of course no more fines or jail time to discourage other migrants.
This decision was taken after the European Court of Justice declared it was actually illegal to detain or jail illegal immigrants on the sole pretext that they did not have any authorisation to reside in a European country… There was little media coverage of this consequential judgement however.
As you see, when we should be strong and reckless, we appear weak and inconsistent. Our governments and administrations no longer seem to have the will to act against illegal migration, when they’re not openly encouraging it. If nothing is done, if nothing changes, I fear that my country will be gobbled up in the upcoming great migrations Stephen Smith describes, and that France will be unrecognizable 100 or even 50 years from now.
To end this article on illegal migration, I propose a meditation on a quote from a 19th century French politician, and staunch opponent to Napoleon II. Of course he wrote the following quote in a different context, but it was built in its very spirit to be a call to the patriotic mind in dire times.
«The real exile isn’t being torn away from your country, it is living in it and no longer finding what made you love it.»