Paris Region Arrests Over 6,300 Underage Migrants in 2020

Police officers of the Brigade des Réseaux Ferrés (BRF - Railway Network Squad) detain a man during a patrol in the metro in Paris on November 2, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)

The Paris region of Ile-de-France has seen a surge in the number of arrests of underage unaccompanied migrants, with 2020 seeing over 6,300 arrests so far this year.

According to the Paris prefecture, the numbers of arrests have increased over the last three years, with the prefecture largely blaming increases in illegal migration for the surge in arrests.

In 2018, for example, there were a total of 7,603 arrests of underage migrants in the Paris region. that number increased to 9,134 arrests in 2019. So far this year there have been at least 3,400 more arrests over the same period than 2019, Le Parisien reports.

Minor migrants, many of them addicted to drugs such as benzodiazepine, are primarily arrested for drug offences, thefts and burglaries. The Directorate of Local Security of the Paris Metropolitan Area (DSPAP) claims that as many as half of all those arrested for burglary in the region are minor migrants from North Africa.

It is also questionable whether or not all of those claiming to be minors actually are under the ager of 18. Le Parisien reports that one migrant arrested earlier in the month alongside two others — aged 11 and a 12-years-old — turned out to be 19 after forensic tests were carried out, not 14 as had been claimed.

One of the main reasons the migrants present themselves as underage to authorities, according to the paper, is because they will be quickly released after any arrest as a result.

According to prosecutor Maryvonne Caillibotte, there has been a “real wave” of minor migrant crime across the entire Paris region. “We favour a fairly firm criminal policy by asking for incarceration in the hope that it will be a deterrent,” Caillibotte said.

In Choisy-le-Roi in Val-de-Marne, police sources say that minor migrants make up almost all of those in police custody. In Yvelines, one 18-year-old in custody is said to have committed crimes in Paris, Val-d’Oise, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Yvelines in the last two years and is known by at least 63 aliases.

The issue of minor migrants has been a problem in Paris for several years and even led to French police directly cooperating with police from Morocco to help arrest and identify minor migrants. While Paris saw over 1,500 Moroccans arrested in 2018, just six were actually deported back to Morocco.


Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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