Number of migrants arrested in France trying to enter UK doubles
The number of migrants seeking to enter Britain illegally through France has more than doubled to 10,500 in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period last year, officials said Friday.
At the three Channel crossings – Calais, Dunkirk and the Channel Tunnel – 10,500 migrants were arrested in the first half of 2014, up from 5,133 a year earlier.
In Calais alone, more than 7,414 people have been arrested between January and June of this year compared to 3,129 a year earlier, the prefecture said on Friday.
"We have noted that there are considerably more illegal migrants, and during our checks we find more," a source at Calais port told AFP.
In the first two weeks of July some 1,200 people were arrested in Calais, but most were quickly released because France's detention centres are already overcrowded.
French police have been trying for years to dislodge the migrant camps that have sprung up in and around the port of Calais.
But the flow of would-be immigrants has been constant, with many hoping to hide in trucks or other vehicles crossing into Britain – where they believe conditions for refugees are better than in France.
Most of the immigrants come from the Horn of Africa – especially from Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea – a source close to the issue said.
"They arrive in Lampedusa (an island on Italy's southernmost tip) and come to France by train or bus and get to Calais," the source said.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
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