Saturday, June 28, 2008


Prime Minister Francois Fillon said It will not change government policy. Laws are to be respected, and one shouldn't be on French territory if one does not have the authorization. Where THE U.N., Amnesty International, Human and Civil rights advocates stand on this shameful Policy?
When the Undocumented committed suicide in detention centers, mutilations, torn apart from families, handcuffed like the worst criminal, persecuted them. Why so much intolerance against the Undocumented? Being without a document will their punsihment fit their crime?
I will said know days the Law goes beyond any Human Values.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hypocrisy, and Inhumane is not Family Value. that's sad and ashamed.

Foudel Rahrah spent 10 days last year in the immigrant-detention center on the edge of Paris that inmates set ablaze this week. It was ``hell,'' he said.

``We were crammed four to a cell; the guards would barge in at all hours of the night to count the number of inmates,'' the 38-year-old Algerian mason said. ``People in there are willing to die to stay in France.''

Immigrants awaiting deportation burned down the center in Vincennes on June 22 after a two-day riot following the death of a 41-year-old Tunisian detainee. The flames reignited debate over government targets for the number of undocumented foreigners expelled each year and the conditions in which they're held.

The opposition Socialist Party and Cimade, a government- funded organization that provides legal assistance to immigrants, say the rush to meet deportation goals has led to overcrowding as the dragnet sweeps in even people who have been in France for decades. This year's target is 26,000, up from 25,000 last year. President Nicolas Sarkozy's government says it's doing what it was elected to do: control illegal immigration.

``This was a criminal fire set after the natural death of an inmate,'' Prime Minister Francois Fillon said June 24. ``It will not change government policy. Laws are to be respected, and one shouldn't be on French territory if one does not have the authorization.''

The Tunisian detainee died of a heart attack, police said.

On the day that Fillon spoke, the afternoon daily Le Monde said the fire incident gave France a ``shameful image.''


Sarkozy just has a ``policy of hitting targets,'' said Stephane Le Foll, a spokesman for the Socialist Party. ``The government must change its immigration policy to respect the rights of foreigners.''

The fire was the second major blaze at Vincennes in a year, according to Cimade.

Suicides, self-mutilations, fights and hunger strikes are common at France's 31 detention centers, where foreigners are held while authorities decide if they are to be deported, Cimade said. An inmate committed suicide at a center near Marseille in December 2006, another in June 2007 near Bordeaux.

``When people who feel they have committed no crime are handcuffed and led to a prison; when they are threatened with a rupture from their life, their families, and are threatened with expulsion that they see as an end to a life, it's not surprising that we see acts of desperation,'' said Damien Nantes, the head of Cimade's service for migrants threatened with deportation.

Running from Police

In September 2007, a Chinese woman died after jumping out of a window when police arrived at her tenement. A 20-year-old Kenyan hung himself in February after he was refused papers. A Malian drowned when he jumped into a river to avoid a police check in April.

A 2005 government decree set a maximum capacity of 140 inmates per detention center. The Vincennes center had 250, skirting the limit by officially splitting the camp into two separate units under the same management, according to Cimade.

The government says an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 foreigners are illegally in France, which has a population of 61 million. The number of people passing through the detention centers rose to 35,008 last year, from 30,923 in 2006 and 25,849 in 2004, Cimade's annual report says. In 2007, the detainees included 242 children, one three weeks old.

In the year to May 31, 29,729 foreigners were deported, up 31 percent from the previous 12 months.

`Humane Measures'

Brice Hortefeux, minister for immigration, said those numbers prove the government's policy is working. The expulsions are ``a sign that, conforming to the wishes of our citizens, France is controlling its immigration,'' he said at a June 19 press conference. Questioned in Parliament this week, Hortefeux said detention centers in France -- compared with those elsewhere in Europe -- are better than most.

Le Monde chided him for failing to address the treatment of immigrants awaiting a decision on their fate.

``No responsible government can be inactive faced with illegal immigration,'' Le Monde said in an editorial. ``But rather than rejoicing in the success of his policy of hitting targets, Brice Hortefeux should demand an audit of the detention centers in France and take humane measures to avoid a repetition of this drama.''

European Challenge

Countries across the European Union are struggling with how to handle immigration. The European Parliament on June 18 set a limit of six months in detention, extendable in certain cases to 12 months, for its 27 member countries.

Previously, the Netherlands and Britain had no time limits, while in Germany it was 18 months, an EU report in January found. The worst detention centers were in ``gateway'' countries facing boatloads of migrants, including Spain, Italy and Greece. Dutch centers, some based on former offshore oil-drilling platforms, are ``harsh' and ``excessively severe,'' the report said.

At 32 days, France had the shortest maximum detention time. The report said migrants in France also had more access to legal help than in Britain, Germany and Italy.

Rahrah, the Algerian mason, said he was arrested last August after two policemen asked for his identity papers as he walked to work in Paris. He was released from the Vincennes center when his pro-bono lawyer argued he'd been held 28 hours at a police station before being sent there, longer than the 24- hour limit.

He's lived in France for 10 years and is still waiting for a decision on his request to regularize his situation.

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