“We must improve the accommodation process”, according to the director general of the French Immigration Office
“The only people who can be satisfied with the situation in Calais today are the smugglers”, estimated Wednesday, October 27 on franceinfo Didier Leschi, director general of the French Office for Immigration and Integration (Ofii), after meeting a priest and two activists on hunger strike for two weeks to denounce the fate of migrants in Calais. “It’s been a long discussion”, he explained.
“We do not want” that a jungle is reconstituting itself in Calais, also hammered Didier Leschi, who affirmed that the Ofii “systematically offer accommodation”. He evoked “the refusal of accommodation proposals” when they are too far from the smugglers.
franceinfo: How was your meeting with this chaplain of Secours Catholique and these two other activists?
Didier Leschi : It’s been a long discussion. We have been part of our concern, which is to ensure that wandering people are taken care of in the best possible way. In this context, I particularly insisted on the fact that we should not allow the possibility that a moor, that is to say a space of indignity for the people who are there, is reconstituted in Calais. We will continue the discussions because there are not only these three people on hunger strike, there are also a number of associations that work with the state and may have different points of view. I must offer them practical and concrete solutions. However, the limited point of the discussion is to prevent the reconstitution of a moor, a muddy field with tents in the cold and in the rain, while we have systematically provided accommodation for people on the move. in Calais. What we are asking from certain associations is the possibility for people to occupy private or public land with cardboard, makeshift items or tents, that is to say in reality to reconstitute the Calais moor. We do not want and I believe that no one can wish it. We ensure that people accept the accommodation that is offered to them in a systematic way.
Is there a problem of lack of accommodation to accommodate these people?
There is no shortage of accommodation. The problem we have is the refusal of accommodation offers because they are, according to some people, too far from their smugglers who allow them to reach England on small boats, it is- that is, to risk their lives crossing the Channel. We systematically offer accommodation, but not all are necessarily located in Calais. The question asked is: “Is accommodation the immediate need?” We are able to offer it. If the question is: “Should we stay near the smugglers in unworthy conditions?”, then it is the reconstitution of the Calais moor and it is not possible. The only people who can be satisfied with the situation in Calais today are the smugglers.
What are you going to do in the next few days?
I will first meet on Thursday all the associations that are reaching out to asylum seekers and migrants. From there, we will discuss very precisely what exists and what can be put in place to improve the situation, always with the limit of preventing informal regroupings and the reconstitution of the land of Calais. Today, we need to improve the hosting process. It may not be fast enough, but we cannot be satisfied with a situation that will set us back five or six years. You just have to try to be faster to offer solutions to these people. Above all, we must try to convince that there is no point in wanting to refuse accommodation in order to risk their lives by crossing the Channel, by fueling the smuggling traffic.