France mulls new asylum plan to address migrants crisis amid security woes: minister

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-23 21:50:09|Editor: ying
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PARIS, June 23 (Xinhua) -- French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said Friday he would present a new plan to resolve the humanitarian crisis and ease security fears surrounding migrants still camped in Calais, refusing the call for a new reception center after the clearing of the impromptu refugee camp, "the jungle" last year.

On a visit to Calais, where hundreds of migrants are still living in poor conditions, Collomb pledged new measures "to deal with the asylum problem more easily."

"The people here stay 18 months, two years, and then they do not leave again...We will try to address the problem of asylum in a way that drastically reduces these time periods," the French minister said.

Paris has been working with European neighbor countries to handle "the major problem of smuggling networks that exist in Africa," he added.

Citing security and health risks, the French government dismantled the shanty town in the northern port city in October 2016 where thousands of migrants had been camped out. They'd been hoping to cross to Britain via the English Channel tunnel. After the camp was dismantled, the migrants were dispersed to reception centers across the country.

Despite the operation to clear the so-called "jungle," hundreds of migrants returned and aid agencies estimate that about 600 migrants are currently sleeping on the city's streets.

"We don't want to create a gathering point where numbers would swell back up to 7,000 over time. That would not be tolerable, for the migrants, the residents of Calais, or for economic life," he told reporters.

More police units are to be deployed in the Calais area after the driver of a Polish van was killed earlier this week when he crashed into a barricade set up by migrants. The migrants had been trying to block the road so as to slow down the trucks and climb aboard, according to the minister.

Wars and political instability in Middle East and North African countries have forced thousands of people to displace and seek a better life in Europe, leading to an unprecedented migrant crisis in Europe.