France is overrun with refugees, and seven mayors from the largest French cities are pushing for an answer to the problem from Paris. It seems that the never-ending flow of immigrants is putting too much of strain on local resources and the time is now for the government to find a fix.
The mayors from Lille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rennes, Toulouse and Nantes have asked the officials in Paris to acknowledge the “social emergency” emerging as the country is saturated with refugees. Each of the cities is being forced to take in several thousand asylum seekers each month. They are also forced to maintain a certain level of resources for those who are asking for asylum but later are denied. Being denied for asylum does not mean they automatically leave.
Many of those who are turned down for asylum remain in the country. While France has limited resources and programs available for those in the process of seeking asylum or even those who get asylum, there are fare fewer programs for those who are not granted the status.
The collective of mayors asked for assistance via a widely published letter to the powers that be in Paris. According to the letter:
“The year 2017 ends with a massive rise in the demand for asylum and the arrival of newcomers puts extreme tension – particularly with the onset of the cold wave – of the classic public and institutional policies. In a proportion never before known, the mechanisms allocated to housing asylum seekers, led by the State, often with the support of our communities, are indeed completely saturated, despite the steady increase the number of places. The evidence is there, before our eyes, in our streets, in homes and shelter’s there is urgency.”
From the letter, it seems some of the most pressing issues tied to the waves of refugees are a lack of shelter, no real guidance from the overall state government as to what to do with the refugees and an increased impact on the citizens of France. The current expectation is for each city to handle their issues and this is no longer working.
Mayors from the seven cities are now asking that the government of France pull each city of the country into handling the refugee crisis. They have requested that the nation establish a “solidarity network” to author a shared response and policy concerning refugees and the asylum process.
Before the letter, it seems that the French were welcoming refugees without a real set of policies about how to meet their needs. Each city was left to fend for themselves, and at this point, their resources and patience has run thin. This is no longer a case of France merely welcoming those in need with open arms but the overall country starting to line up both policies and budgets to get this accomplished.
The issues tied to refugees is not something new for France, it has been in the news a great deal lately after a horrible crime went viral. In October an undocumented male refugee stabbed two women in Marseille. In response to this crime, French President Emmanuel Macron put a new policy in place. Instead of allowing all refugees to stay in France, it is now policy that France will start to deport any immigrants who commit crimes.
The French Interior Ministry quickly replied to the public cry for help from these seven cities. They have started to piece together what they are calling a “resettlement scheme” that includes equally distributing both resources and refugees across France. They are also making a promise to provide up to 20,000 housing units for homeless refugees that will be shared all over France.
A big part of the issue in France in regards to immigrants is the fact that they truly have no hard count of the numbers of people involved. Another part of the scheme includes creating a network of “mobile teams” of government workers to go out into the cities to do frontline triage and placement for the refugees. This team approach starts with a census of the refugees already in each city.
The idea behind the first census count is to attempt to distribute the available funds from the government to areas that have the most need. Currently, each city is charged with finding their donors and funding. This leaves each area with a different level of support and also encourages refugees to flood areas where they hear things are available.