Despite Macron's Promises, Tough Conditions Still Exist For Refugees Stuck On Paris Streets
The cold winter air is making it more difficult for hundreds of refugees who are still sleeping on the streets of Paris as they wait for asylum in France. Most of them are dotting the area across the north-east of Paris and in the borough of Seine-Saint-Denis.
It has become a critical situation that French President Emmanuel Macron promised to remedy by the end of 2017, according to a news report at France23.com.
When he first came into office, Macron emphasized that France was a welcome country (terre d’accueil) for refugees and that by the end of December 2017, he didn’t want to see any men or women on the streets. However, the situation is seen as very serious because refugees are still roughing it outdoors and constantly bothered by authorities at night to get moving. Many huddle under bridges to escape nasty weather conditions and avoid police, but they are isolated from any kind of basic necessities. There is no place to sleep, no tents, no blankets, no food and no bathroom facilities.
There are reports of police becoming violent and spraying tear gas on the few sleeping bags where refugees have created little makeshift shelters. Others claim that authorities have stolen their blankets and sleeping bags, and they have been forced to move on.
France's government is anxious to get proper asylum for those who are seeking it, but immigration officers want to look at the paperwork from the emergency shelters to separate the licit political prisoners from the economic migrants. Distinguishing between economic migrants and asylum seekers has turned out to be a challenging and time-consuming task.
Interior Minister Gérard Collomb is estimating that only one-third of the people sleeping on the streets of Paris are political prisoners compared to the other two-thirds he believes are economic migrants.
Still, Macron and the French government pledge to shelter vulnerable people.
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