The French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, stated this Tuesday that France “will not welcome immigrants from Lampedusa (Italy),” insisting on his country’s “firm position.”
“If we welcome more people, we will not stop a flow that exceeds our integration capacity,” Darmanin said in statements to the TF1 channel, arguing that “it is necessary to combat” illegal immigration and that “the solution is European.”
The French minister was in Italy on Monday to meet with his Italian counterpart, Matteo Piantedosi, to talk about the migration crisis caused by the arrival of some 11,000 people in boats last week to the Italian island of Lampedusa, in the central Mediterranean.
According to Darmanin, “it is necessary to distinguish immigrants from political refugees” and that, therefore, France asked the Italian authorities to determine who falls into each of the categories.
“If they are persecuted, the duty of France and other countries is to welcome them, but this is not the case for the majority,” he stressed.
In return, Darmanin said he told Italy that France could help by repatriating immigrants from countries with which Paris maintains good relations.
The head of the French Government confirmed that another 200 police officers were sent to reinforce the 150 who control the border with Italy, especially at the Menton post, which is being expanded.
And he recalled that French agents at that border post have denied entry to around 30,000 people since the beginning of the year.