France’s capital is facing another migrant crisis as more than 2,000 migrants from Africa and the Middle East are now sleeping in the open in the city, according to French media — less than a year after President Emmanuel Macron’s government evacuated makeshift camps around the capital.
Migrants, mainly from Afghanistan, are occupying 200 tents under a highway in the north of the capital, according to Le Figaro and AFP. That is similar to a nearby situation at Porte de Clignancourt, where there are 250 other migrants living on the sidewalks, keeping warm by improvised campfires and subway vents.
Paris officials said that the Ile-de-France region experienced a 45 percent increase in asylum seekers in 2018 and that its accommodations were “saturated.” Officials were implementing an emergency plan to open 1,200 places of shelter for migrants “very soon.”.
One French charity said that the number is growing rapidly and there could be as many as 4000 migrants on the streets by the end of winter, according to Le Figaro. Charities have written to Macron — whose poll numbers have plummeted in 2018 — reminding him of promises he made in July that there would be no more men and women on the streets by the end of the year.
“It’s a question of dignity,” he said in Orleans.
The ongoing saga in Paris has been one of the more visible effects of the broader European migrant crisis which began in 2015. In 2016, the French government tore down the Calais migrant camp known as “The Jungle,” but that led migrants to make their way toward the capital, setting up down Paris’ famous Champs D’Elysee.
In May, Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said that the situation was “no longer bearable for Parisians” and that it was evacuating the then-2,300 migrants from camps around Paris.
Collomb accused Paris officials of refusing to deal with the matter, leading to asylum seekers and rejected asylum seekers disproportionately gathering around the capital.