Reinforcements from law enforcement have made it possible to arrest nearly 3,000 migrants since September 8 in Menton, in the Alpes-Maritimes, before the possible influx of migrants disembarked en masse in Lampedusa, announced Friday September 22 , Emmanuelle Joubert, departmental director of the border police.
This total brings to 32,000 the number of arrests since the start of 2023 along the border in this department, a figure up 20% compared to 2022 over the same period while arrivals in Italy have more than doubled compared to 2022, explained Ms. Joubert during a press briefing.
Among the migrants arrested, 24,000 were subject to a non-admission procedure and were handed over to the Italian authorities, i.e. 10% more than in 2022. But many were counted several times after having made multiple attempts . The others were unaccompanied minors, who cannot be returned and whose number jumped by 50%, to reach 5,000 arrivals, and adults intercepted beyond the 20 kilometer band allowing readmissions to Italy.
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Reinstatement of border controls
The procedures were put in place in 2015 with the reestablishment of border controls following the attacks: all trains passing through Menton are checked, police officers filter border posts and patrol the mountains of the hinterland. Only controls on the highway remain much more random.
Since June 1, a border force (border force) is deployed, with reinforcements of personnel, the support of the soldiers of Operation “Sentinel” and drones with thermal cameras. In a judgment handed down on Thursday, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that France could not carry out systematic pushbacks in this way. “We have been informed. The State is carrying out an analysis, we will have instructions later”explained Ms. Joubert.
In the meantime, controls have intensified after the arrival of more than 12,000 migrants in a few days last week on the Italian coast, most of them on the small island of Lampedusa. But “there is often a delay of several weeks between their arrival in Italy and crossing the border”, explained Ms. Joubert. Thus, the people arrested Thursday had arrived at the end of August or the beginning of September in Italy. Only two had landed last week in Lampedusa.
During a trip to Menton on September 12, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, announced reinforcements in the fight against irregular immigration at the Italian border, where France notes “a 100% increase in flows”he said.
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