French President Emmanuel Macron vowed Thursday to clear the streets of migrants by the end of the year, but communities are skeptical of the plan to put thousands of people in shelters across the country.
Parts of France have been flooded with homeless migrants since the “jungle” camp in Calais was dismantled last fall. Macron is proposing a number of measures to mass deport economic migrants while speeding up the asylum process for genuine refugees.
“For those who are persecuted, for freedom fighters … they must be welcomed on our territory,” Macron said during a speech in Orleans in central France Thursday, according t0 The Times. “Letting them wander from border to border, that is not what France is about. No country can take in all the economic migrants.”
The state has purchased 62 Formule 1 hotels to give shelter to around 6,000 homeless people. The decision has been meet with harsh objections in parts of the country. The people of Séméac, a town of around 5,000 residents, have erected a wall around the entrance to a future migrant center to stop people from moving in. (RELATED: French Villagers Build Wall To Stop Migrants From Moving In)
“We not against taking in migrants,” Séméac resident Laurent Teixeira told AFP Monday. “But you have to take account of the citizens.”
A police union in Bailleul has described the plan as “pure madness” since the town’s hotel is located near a freeway that leads to Calais, The Times reports. Officers believe the accommodation site will be used as a base for migrants who try to hijack trucks heading for the United Kingdom.
Macron defends the plan as a better alternative than letting migrants sleep rough on the streets of Paris.
“I want emergency shelters everywhere,” Macron said. “I don’t want women and men in the street.”
Paris police removed 2,500 migrants from the north of the city in early July in its 34th mass evacuation since the migrant crisis broke out in the summer of 2015.
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