Agonies of deportation
France has a growing problem with its flood of illegal immigrants. The government wants to deport them, but they refuse to go. The airlines will not fly them, so Mrs Cresson has said that she will charter a fleet of planes.
Despite Prime Minister Edith Cresson’s determination to deport illegal immigrants as soon as they are discovered, France still has a reputation in the Third World of being “soft”. Thousands who have done it before have spread the word that, if you can find a menial job and earn enough to keep going, you can eventually obtain residence status.
Mrs Cresson drew howls of protest from liberals and human-right activists when she suggested recently that, since regular airlines were refusing to carry disruptive deportees, a fleet of planes should be chartered to take illegal immigrants home. Violent protests by the children of immigrants in the poorer suburbs of Paris and other large cities have rekindled debates about immigration and racism. But there are no easy solutions, and the three Sri Lankan women, who, according to the authorities, do not face persecution at home, are now staying in a hotel near Paris. Their bills, Ffr600 a day each, will be paid by the airline which flew them to France in the first place.