Despite the clean, safe, accommodation on offer for them across France, migrants moved from the Calais “jungle” say they are more determined than ever to reach the UK.
France’s refusal to grant them large city dwellings, and the desire to be surrounded by their own countrymen are some of the reasons cited by migrants who say they are undeterred in their efforts to live in Britain.
Afghans who have been moved from Calais to the countryside say they loathe France and the food and shelter provided by the country’s taxpayers, who one 18-year-old says are “racist”.
Rahmat Ahmadi claims they were tricked by authorities, who promised them “a big house in a city” before transporting them to rural Normandy. “They lied to us” he says, complaining that, instead “they dumped us here in a place with no halal meat in the meals, no internet, and where we sleep ten to a bedroom and the kitchen is covered in flies.
“The cows over the fence are better cared for than us. We were tricked and we are going to walk out,” he adds, his fellow Afghans nodding in agreement.
“They are racists. We don’t want to stay here and will just go to a city to wait our chance to get to the UK from there.”
The 18-year-old adds: “I want to find work in London, even on the black market. I have 30 relatives in Afghanistan, most of them children, who are relying on me to do that. There is no job for me here and never will be.”
Rahmat is one of around 6,000 migrants who were moved this week by French authorities to asylum centres across France.
Another Afghan at the centre with Rahmat is Abdul Jabarkhel, who was flown back to Kabul from Britain after failing to win asylum in 2014. He reveals he returned to Europe last year “hidden among the thousands going to Germany”, and headed straight to Calais.
“‘I do not want to stay here in France. Nor does any Afghan I know”, the 29-year-0ld declares.
Former British soldier Dave King, who advocates for migrants in the ‘jungle’ camp, explained in June that one of the major draws of the UK to people from the third world is that they can join large communities of their fellow countrymen already hosted by the country.
In the seaside resort of St-Germain-sur-Ay are two more Afghans, this week moved from Calais, who have been deported from Britain before but remain determined to return.
Thirty-year-old Imran says he’s irked to not be “in a big city” from which he can easily make a break for England again. Thirty-two-year-old Asif agrees with his fellow countryman, the pair disclosing that they’re considering “running away” to find Afghan communities in multi-ethnic areas of France.
The number of people living in slums lining the streets of Paris, in which up to 2,500 wait for asylum decisions or make plans to launch attempts to illegally reach the UK, is said to have swelled by as third this week as the “jungle” was cleared.
The French capital reported an “industrial catastrophe” in August as tourism dropped by €750 million. “I want to go to the UK but I won’t go via Calais, because the camp there is gone. I have to get out of here”, an Afghan called Aslan says.
“I have to get out of here. I’m in a tent with two other people and it’s cold and wet and the rain comes through,” he adds. The migrant’s Afghan friends all agree that they’re determined to make it to England, where they insist it’s easy to get a job.
While Afghan migrants are portrayed by most of the media, left wing celebrities and the commentariat, as “fleeing war”, the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) has been assisting in repatriating three million of them from Pakistan as their homeland is now deemed safe.