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Jungle, Calais. Wikipedia

Jungle of Calais may re-appear as migrants find their way back

The closure of the border by Britain is one of the reasons advanced by the director of the association France Terre d'Asile, Pierre Henry, for the problems that his country is currently facing with migrants.

Published: December 28, 2016, 1:25 pm

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    He believes that this obstruction actually maintains a networks of smugglers operating in France to help migrants cross the Channel.

    The Calais Jungle, a crime-infested migrant camp, was dismantled at the end of October, causing the displacement of nearly 7 000 people. But two months later, the issue is still simmering after 2000 youths were welcomed in reception and guidance centers (CAO) and only 791 of them were taken care of by Great Britain.

    Henry has warned, in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, that some have already returned to the region of Calais, because they want to try and get into Britain.

    “It is estimated that between 10 and 15 percent of young people have returned to the migratory route. To this must be added the new hopefuls who arrive in the region because the closure of the camp did not cause the end of the migratory flows nor did it resolve the asymmetrical relations between France and Great Britain,” Henry says.

    “For the most part, these young people have a project: to go to Great Britain. We knew at the time of the dismantling that 95 percent of the young people would try again because despite the closure of the camp of Calais, they will not give up… After Brexit, [Britain] closed the doors taking advantage of their geographical location.

    “The risk is that these youths, who are mostly aged in 15 and 18 years, will retry their chances by the clandestine migratory routes with all the risks that these involve. With this policy of border closure, Britain is simply maintaining smuggling networks.”

    Henry believes the Jungle of Calais may re-appear in a couple a years even if Brexit has promised to keep migrants out.

    karin@praag.org

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