Asylum or Alimony Seekers? Fed Up Calais Residents Demand End to Migrant “Jungle”
All this year the French focal point of Europe’s wider Med Migrant crisis, has been Calais and a camp known in the Anglophone media as “The Jungle”, officially the Jules Ferry centre.
This summer the camp became the flash point of concerted efforts by hundreds of migrants, urged on by UK-based smuggling gangs and left-wing activists to storm the Channel Tunnel and the UK frontier. Paris’s Le Monde reported that Calais police have broken up 19 migrant smuggler gangs reportedly earning up to €1.98 million from migrants trying to gain illegal entry into Britain. Le Monde said 1,225 smugglers working for seven Albanian gangs and another 12 networks run by Pakistani, Afghan, Iraqi and Vietnamese smugglers have been arrested since the beginning of the year. The gangsters reportedly offer their customers money back guarantees if they are caught by border police.
Most of the Calais crisis reporting in UK media uses terms such as “desperate”, “destitute”, “persecuted” and speaks of people from “war-torn countries” when describing the illegal migrants. The reality however would seem to be considerably less black and white. Clearly there may be refugees from war-wracked, ISIS-infested Syria at Calais, but TV and other media coverage of the ongoing Calais debacle tends to show images of large numbers of young, fit, often well-dressed, unaccompanied men of various nationalities, in other words “economic migrants” as UK Prime Minister David Cameron himself described them this week.
These migrants, collected all across Europe in the latest stage of an influx ongoing now for more than a decade, are to a large extent fomenting Western Union (WU)-type economic development in their home countries. They use the American-owned cash transfer network to send generous host nation welfare handouts and other subsidies to families back home in a clearly unsustainable model and one offering no long-term solution to Africa’s problems.
A spate of recent news reports quote refugees allegedly escaping from all kinds of hardship and terrors. But some question whether any of the reporters involved have actually asked to see the documentation of the migrants they speak to? For there are many reports of migrants disposing of their papers to ensure they cannot be identified or returned to their country of origin. Reporters are presumably taking at face value statements from people with an axe to grind and an interest in exaggerating their plight.
Back in April European leaders, under pressure from increasingly discontented voices among their voters, made clear EU doors must be closed tight against the migrant flood while the business model of the traffickers in human misery must be destroyed. Yet Brussels has so far miserably failed to coordinate anything like a coherent and successful handling of the problem. The blame for this is laid by some, on this man:
Official sources are now describing the torrent of human trafficked misery as the worst migrant crisis seen in Europe since the Second World War. While there has been plenty of dramatic and vivid reporting from Calais over the chaos that has hit the port this summer little has been said about the impact that the migrant mêlée around the French beach resort has had on local residents.
Calais residents finally appear to have had enough and recently a group of locals set up a Facebook page called The Angered People of Calais (Les Calaisiens en Colère):
In the video Sarah Guerlach tells how her badly shaken mother-in-law faces constant fear. Her house, she says, has been stoned and burgled by “Jungle” migrants and in the face of only half-hearted official responses to the problems, the Guerlach’s have been forced to install security fencing, floodlights and video cameras to protect the old lady who at one stage according to her daughter, fled to her basement in terror when the house came under attack.
L’Express magazine has also taken up the cause of Calais residents who have seen their city turned from a Parisian summer playground of earlier times into a staging post for rioters, rapists, traffickers and other evils illegal economic migrant smugglers are dumping on Europe.
Writing in L’Express Denis Tugdual reports:” For fifteen years, their city has been the cul de sac of migrants dreaming of England and now the residents of Calais are losing patience over this forced cohabitation. Distrust is rising, stocks of human solidarity are depleted and resentment has set in. Since 1999 and the creation of the infamous Sangatte centre, the city has faced a constant influx of illegal immigrants. There has never been any true respite. In the latest chapter of this saga Eurotunnel security has, since the beginning of 2015, intercepted 37,000 people trying to invade the tunnel and cross illegally into the UK. Some nights there are 1500 migrants attempting to cross via the Channel Tunnel. To the east of the city, in a vacant windswept lot, the “Jungle” is home to more than 3000 people. Until now, the people of Calais have accepted the mess: “In view of the situation they face, I find it remarkable,” says Natacha Bouchart Mayor of Calais, elected in 2008 in what was a former Communist stronghold. Jacques Vendroux Director of Sports at Radio France, grew up in Calais: his grandfather, brother of the wife of General de Gaulle, was deputy mayor. He returns often and this is how he sums up the state of mind of his high school buddies: “These are friendly people, supportive of the problem, not racists, who enjoy drinking and eating and socialising, but who are now fed up.” Others tell of a darker side. The supermarket gas station has been vandalized they say. Because of fights and stealing, migrants are not welcome on the property unless they come in groups smaller than 10. Everyone has a story about a stolen laptop, a ripped open bag, and now increasingly being threatened with knives. Economically, the city, already hit by the crisis and social conflict is suffering badly. The horse riding centre is owned by Bertrand Lefebvre . On July 18 he wrote to the French Prime Minister: “Before this summer’s flare-ups the British accounted for 40% of my clients, today that has fallen to 6%..” For sale” boards can be seen everywhere 800 properties at least are currently seeking a buyer, a huge number for a town of 72,000 inhabitants”.
Watch this recent Itele news report:
Itele says: The Jungle at Calais, 18 hectares of wood and tarpaulin. Here there are makeshift shelters housing some 3,500 Sudanese, Eritrean, Pakistani, Afghan or Syrian migrants. There is a makeshift school to learn French, sanitation and showers, Calais Jungle is gradually becoming a city within a city.
There is little new in the problems surrounding the current migrant crisis, according to this 2005 report in Le Parisien which tells of a middle-aged deaf and dumb couple who were attacked that year in Calais and the wife raped.
Meanwhile on their Facebook page the anger of Calais residents is now coming into the open:
Photo shows an illegal trading store in the “Jungle” camp (Credit Facebook)
“Opening a store for trade is subject to all sorts of administrative formalities (registration in the trade and companies register, Declaration to income tax services, etc.), Do you think that applies here ?”
The Angry Calaisiens
August 6 at 2:01 am ·
“Note the cost of the French asylum policy is rather high. Adopted on 15 July, the new asylum law reform is supposed to speed up procedures for processing asylum applications and improve the rights of applicants on French soil. More mundanely the purpose of the reform is … to reduce costs.
Singled out in April by the Court of Auditors, the cost of political asylum in France appears to be very high indeed: 900 million euros in 2013 against 626 million in 2009 or 13 724 euros for each applicant. Another flaw found by the Court of Auditors in April: Although unsuccessful asylum applicants have by French law to leave French territory, only 1% have done so and that at a cost of about 1 billion euros”.
Here are more pictures published on their Facebook page:
Here is an Economist graph showing the flow of migrants:
Illegal immigration from Africa to Europe is significant. Many people from poor African countries embark on the dangerous journey for Europe, in hopes of a better life. In parts of Africa, particularly Mauritania and Morocco, trafficking of immigrants to Europe has become more lucrative than drug trafficking. But some illegal immigrants die during the journey and most of them who do not get asylum get deported back to Africa. Libya is also a major departure point for irregular migrants setting off for Europe.
Between October 2013 and October 2014, the Italian government ran Operation Mare Nostrum, a naval and air operation intended to reduce irregular immigration to Europe and the incidence of migratory ship wreckages off the coast of Lampedusa. The Italian government ceased the operation as it was judged to be unsustainable, involving a large proportion of the Italian navy. The operation was replaced by a more limited joint EU border protection operation, named Operation Triton managed by the EU border agency, Frontex. Some other European governments, including Britain’s, argued that the operations such as Mare Nostrum and Triton serve to provide an “unintended pull factor” encouraging further migration.
In 2014, 170,100 irregular migrants were recorded arriving in Italy by sea (an increase from 42,925 arrivals recorded in 2013), 141,484 of them leaving from Libya. Most of them came from Syria, the Horn of Africa and West Africa.
The issue returned to international headlines with a series of migrant shipwrecks, part of the 2015 Mediterranean migration crisis. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates suggest that between the start of 2015 and the middle of April, 21,000 migrants had reached the Italian coast and 900 migrants had died in the Mediterranean. Critics of European policy towards irregular migration in the Mediterranean argue that the cancellation of Operation Mare Nostrumfailed to deter migrants and that its replacement with Triton “created the conditions for the higher death toll”.
Story: Ken Pottinger
The migrants have travelled across many counties to reach Calais and indeed to first touch base in southern or Eastern Europe, the main entry points of the current flood. The prices paid to unscrupulous people-smugglers who sherpa them along appear to be substantial as Newsweek showed.
Reports vary on how much a Med boat trip from North Africa to Italy, a dinghy from Turkey to Kos, or a land march from Asia to Austria and Hungary cost, but the sums given by the migrants in response to reporters’ questions, are not insignificant.
Here is but one of hundreds of examples found after a scan of media reports:
“Mustafa, 27, was training to be a doctor in Khartoum, Sudan before he fled his country’s political turmoil. He is still traumatized by the image of a 15-year-old Syrian girl who died of diabetic shock during their difficult eight-day voyage across the sea from Egypt to Italy. “The boat owner told her father that it was a 5-star boat with a doctor, and so he paid $50,000 for the family to cross,” he said softly..(from a Time magazine report Migrants Wait With Hope and Resignation at French Camp Called ‘The Jungle’.
This for some, raises what is surely a fair question — reflected in below-the-line comments on many internet reports about the migrant crisis — if they can afford such sums, how poor and badly off were these people in the first place and why are they coming?
For the illegal migrants are posing significant problems across Europe and stirring an inevitable backlash among angered and worried European voters.
As Der Speigel noted recently: “… The latest cacophony from Brussels only makes things worse. In June, the European Union proposed, for the first time, a quota system to distribute 40,000 refugees from Greece and Italy among the other member states, so that most of them would not just end up continuing on to Germany, as they so often do. But the notion of voluntarily accepting refugees did not sit well with many member states. No thanks, said the Brits. Spain balked. The Baltic countries, too, admitted they had something else in mind when they decided to become part of the EU. In the end, the quota system came up 7,700 short of its goal to resettle 40,000 people…”
or as The Commentators Vincent Cooper wrote after his experiences in Rome and Vicenza: “…The chaotic migrant problem in Europe has led to cities like Rome seeing historic sites taken over by gangs, making it both dangerous and unrecognisable. But now Brussels wants to off-load the new migrants to countries like Poland…”
or Breitbart London noted in July: …”The equivalent of “three major towns” crossed the Aegean sea to land on the islands of the Greek west coast, as a reported 28,260 illegals came ashore in just 20 days. The figure, as reported by Greek defence-orientated news source OnAlert.gr, claimed that between June 23 and July 12 this year over 1,000 on average arrived every day, with 4,266 arriving over just one weekend in July. That the 28,260 arrived via the Aegean sea – a major point of ingress for illegal migrants into the European Union – suggests the sea voyages made started in comparatively peaceful Turkey rather than warzone Libya, where sailings to Italy often begin…”