Migrants in Calais: the temporary reception center is “absolutely not a solution”, denounces an association

The creation of a temporary reception center, a “airlock” of “sheltering” of 300 places for migrants in Calais (Pas-de-Calais), announced by the government mediator on Wednesday, is “absolutely not a solution”, declared Claire Millot, general secretary of Salam, an association helping people in exile in Calais, Friday November 5 on franceinfo. The vast majority of migrants that the members of the association meet have been refused asylum rights in France. After a few hours in these temporary reception centers, they therefore risk being placed in detention centers before being ordered to leave French territory.

Claire Millot greeted a “improvement” provided by the government mediator. Didier Leschi, director general of the French Office for Immigration and Integration, announced that the camps will be dismantled every three days, and not every two days as before. An announcement made before a new tragedy in Calais. A young migrant died, and three others injured, this Wednesday, hit by a TER.

franceinfo: Are you seeing an increase in the number of migrants in the Calais sector?

Claire Millot: Yes, clearly. Lots of people since this summer. Because of the success of the passages to England by sea. With these famous “small boats”, inflatable canoes, Zodiacs, sometimes even inflatable swimming pools with shovels as oars. The success of these operations has dramatically increased the number of people attempting the passage.

On Thursday, a young migrant died after being hit by a train. We know that the state does not want these migrants to settle. They find themselves wandering around. Is that what makes the situation dangerous?

Their situation is absolutely appalling. Since 2018, we have a dismantling every two days. It’s getting harder and harder. We just had a mediator who came and offered some improvements. Police forces will no longer dismantle every two days, but every three days. It’s progress, anything that gets someone an extra night’s sleep. On the other hand, they must leave the land on which they have settled, take their belongings, including their tent and their tarpaulin. Imagine carrying everything you can carry in your arms. That means a maximum of three blankets, four changes of clothes, some groceries and a stove for cooking. This is really the bare minimum.

There is the airlock solution installed in Calais and which must accommodate around 300 people, for a few hours. Isn’t that the right solution?

Absolutely not. It was only for a few hours and the next morning they were taken to a reception center.

“We know very well that in these centers, they have no hope.”

Claire Millot, general secretary of Salam

to franceinfo

Insofar as 95% of the guys that we have there on the ground, are people who are rejected from a country, either in France, or in Germany, or in the Scandinavian countries. They did not obtain refugee status. Or they have Dublin prints, taken in the first European country they passed through. They can apply for asylum in these countries, but it is always Greece, Italy, Spain. Countries where the economic situation is the most difficult. They want to come to France, or to Germany. And then, when they have no other solution, that they have been refused elsewhere, they try to cross to England. Putting these people in a reception center is to condemn them to the detention center and to the obligation to leave French territory. So these reception centers are absolutely not a solution.

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