The number of migrants rescued off Calais and welcomed by the French state has tripled in 2021, which was itself a record year for attempts to cross the Channel irregularly, reports the French Office for Immigration and integration (Ofii) on 10 January.
“The number of shipwrecked off Calais and taken care of was 1,002 in 2021”, compared to 341 in 2020, an increase of 194%, announces the Ofii. This support represents “a financial effort that continues to increase,” said the director general of the organization, Didier Leschi.
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In addition, the number of people living in makeshift camps on the north coast who were “hosted and referred to the national reception system was 31,103” last year, up 239% compared to 2020 ( 9.172), according to the Ofii.
Among these migrants, the proportion of people with families or people considered “vulnerable” doubled, from 1,158 to 2,273.
The Ofii recalls that 9,779 accommodation places were offered in 2021, mainly in Hauts-de-France (98%) and 6,950 people were accommodated.
“Hysterical debates on immigration”
This increase in accommodation comes at a time of a record number of attempted irregular Channel crossings, with more than 28,000 people successfully reaching English shores in 2021. At the end of November, 27 migrants aboard a makeshift boat were died in the deadliest death. shipwreck on this sea route. Only two migrants survived the tragedy and were among 1,002 migrants captured last year.
“To ignore the state’s efforts to deal with the complex situation in Calais is to participate in the hysterical debates on immigration,” said Leschi, who has been leading a mediation mission to Calais since last October to the government account. .
“People want to stay on the coast”
For their part, the associations that help migrants in the region regularly accuse the authorities of pursuing a policy of deterrence on the coast. Several activists began a hunger strike between October and mid-November 2021, to demand a moratorium on the almost daily dismantling of the camps and to denounce the “inhuman” treatment reserved for exiles.
In December, aid workers interviewed by InfoMigrants were already pointing to an increase in the number of shelters, while doubting the effectiveness of this system. Indeed, according to them, migrants do not wish to go to centers far from the city and which do not correspond to their administrative status.
“Exiles do not go to the CAES [reception and situation examination center] because they are intended for asylum seekers. But most Calaisians have already gone through the Dublin regulations or have had their asylum applications rejected,” said Pierre Roques of the Auberge des Migrants.
“These people want to stay on the coast, they are there to go to England, not to end up tens of kilometers from the coast”, said Marguerite Combes, coordinator of Utopia 56, “When there is a humanitarian emergency, they must be housed where they are, in Calais.”