Overwhelmed by migrants, mayors from seven major French cities published a joint letter in LeMonde on Saturday, begging the government to step in and help.
Mayors representing the cities of Lille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rennes, Toulousa and Nantes wrote in the letter that they have been taking in “several thousand” refugees per month. This is creating a social emergency, they said, describing the situation as “backed up against a wall” and “completely saturated” by a seemingly endless stream of asylum seekers.
With housing and shelters bursting at the seams, the mayors complained, “Every month, several thousand people arrive in our cities. Integrating those recognized as refugees and helping those who have lost their right of asylum who still remain in our territory is a major issue.” – Le Monde (translated)
Calling on Paris to establish a “solidarity network,” the French mayors want to work together to address the flow of migrants. They also seek an “enlarged meeting with the state at the highest level,” which the mayors say must act quickly by assuming its sovereign powers to “finance these developed actions and propose a clarified framework of work with the communities for a real plan of reception of the migrants.”
More money and housing need to be put towards the migrant crisis, they urged.
The French Interior Ministry responded to the plea by proposing a resettlement scheme which would result in the relocation of some 20,000 housing units, “broken down regionally” to ensure “distribution balanced” refugees and mobilization of donors, according to a report from the AFP.
They’re also looking to establish “mobile teams,” which would be responsible for the identification of migrants in emergency accommodations. However, some refugee activists denounce the logic of “census, labeling and triage,” according to the report.
A report from ZeroHedge noted an October 2016 relocation of roughly 6,000 migrants from the Calais “Jungle” camp across Europe, bringing new asylum seekers who now sleep on the streets of Paris, begging for money and angering local residents and sparking sanitary concerns. Last week, a group of Parisian protesters threatened to go on a hunger strike if police didn’t relocate approximately 100 Syrian and Afghan migrants from a northern Paris neighborhood.
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