French Migrant Deportations At ‘Standstill’ Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

An African migrant checks his phone as he sits by piles of suitcases and bicycles outside a hangar turned into a squat housing over 200 men, mainly Malians, in Montreuil, a Paris suburb on February 24, 2021. - Lassana Camara looks around him, in the insanitary hangar in the Parisian …

Police in the French Yvelines department say they are overwhelmed with criminal migrants, as deportations have come to a “standstill” during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

Police in the department, located just outside of Paris, say they have been facing an influx of migrants, many of them claiming to be minors, for the last several months and said that accommodations for homeless migrants have become overwhelmed due to coronavirus.

“And if by chance, we prove that they are of legal age, it is the same problem. The evictions are at a standstill due to Covid,” one officer told Le Parisien.

In the commune of Mantes-la-Jolie, police have been called to several illegal squats but have found that as soon as they clear them, the area is soon taken over by other homeless young migrants.

In one case, a young migrant had been arrested nine times in just three months but was released every time, with the newspaper reporting that many claim to be underage to avoid criminal prosecution.

According to one activist who works with an association helping homeless migrants, the commune has seen an explosion in numbers as many go unnoticed due to the already high proportion of people from migrant backgrounds in the area.

Two homeless migrants, both from Algeria, spoke to Le Parisien about their situation, saying that they had worked for €20 a day in local markets, but the pandemic has made it difficult for them.

“We were asked to sell drugs. They told us that because we are minors, nothing should happen to us if we get caught by the police. But we refused,” one of the migrants said.

Minor migrants, particularly from the North African region known as the Maghreb, have become a major security issue in some parts of France, where they have been disproportionately linked to robberies and violent crime.

According to a report released by French politicians Jean-François Eliaou and Antoine Savignat, Maghreb migrants make up as much as 75 per cent of the minor migrants arrested in the city of Paris.

The report also noted that many had lied about their age and estimated as many as half of those claiming to be 16 or 17 were actually above the age of 18.

The Directorate of Security of the Paris Metropolitan Area (DSPAP) later revealed that after working with police in North Africa, they had managed to positively identify 229 migrants claiming to be underage and found that 94 per cent of them were adults.

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


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