Sarkozy promises to step up repatriation of illegal immigrants

British-French border police, customs officers wage ‘joint battle’ against migration

24th March 2010: French President Nicolas Sarkozy has promised to step up the repatriation of illegal immigrants.

The assertion came soon after the opening of a new Anglo-French co-ordination centre for tackling illegal immigration into Britain at Calais yesterday.

Comprising high-tech surveillance equipment and intelligence sharing, the centre will cost UK an estimated £15million. But in return, president Sarkozy has promised to step up the repatriation process.

The centre was opened at the Calais ferry port Immigration Minister Phil Woolas and his French counterpart Eric Besson, who emphasised their determination to tackle immigration.

Besson insisted British and French border police and customs officers at the centre would co-ordinate with each other for carrying out a ‘joint battle’ to tackle migrants and the mafia smuggling gangs.

Calais Chamber of Commerce president Jean-Marc Puissereau said the goal was to bring in more effective methods to the fight against illegal immigration.
Even though Sarkozy has promised to step up the repatriation process, not many are sure of the success.

Soon after the French police bulldozed a fetid forest camp near Calais and detained illegal immigrants who had hoped to slip across the English Channel into Britain, an aid worker described the action as a “publicity stunt”.

Describing it as a ‘total failure’, senior Calais aid worker Vincent Lenoir said it was carried out to ‘placate the British public’.

The only purpose of the Jungle operation was to appease the public in England. It was an Anglo-French publicity stunt that had no effect at all, he has asserted.

Lenoir said 278 migrants were arrested, but now there were more than 400 illegal immigrants again massed on the Channel coast. To make the matters worse, dozens more were flooding into the northern French port daily with a hope to sneak illegally into Britain. (Read more:

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