Inside France’s “The Jungle” Migrant Camp
French President François Hollande has vowed “definitively, entirely and rapidly” to dismantle “The Jungle,” a squalid migrant camp in the northern port town of Calais, by the end of this year.
Hollande made the announcement during a September 26 visit to Calais — but not to the camp itself — amid growing unease over France’s escalating migrant crisis, which has become a central issue in the country’s presidential campaign.
The French government plans to relocate the migrants at the camp to so-called reception centers in other parts of the country. But it remains unclear how the government will prevent migrants from returning to Calais.
Sceptics say the plan to demolish “The Jungle” is a publicity stunt that will temporarily displace the migrants but will not resolve the underlying problem — that French officials refuse either to deport illegal migrants or else to secure the country’s borders to prevent illegal migrants from entering France in the first place.
The decision to demolish the camp came just days after construction work began on a wall in Calais, a major transport hub on the edge of the English Channel, to prevent migrants at the camp from stowing away on cars, trucks, ferries and trains bound for Britain.
In recent months, people-smugglers armed with knives, bats and tire irons have forced truck drivers to stop so that migrants can board their vehicles. The Deputy Mayor of Calais, Philippe Mignonet, has described the main route to the port as a “no-go area” between midnight and 6am. – READ MORE