in Montgenèvre, controlled migrants are no longer returned to Italy

in Montgenèvre, controlled migrants are no longer returned to Italy
in Montgenèvre, controlled migrants are no longer returned to Italy

For several weeks, migrants who wish to go to France via the Montgenèvre pass have no longer been pushed back into Italy by the border police. A victory for the associations.

“They all pass.” Two months before the start of the Olympic Games, and while the government is increasing its announcements to strengthen border controls, the situation in Montgenèvre, described by a police Source to BFM DICI, may come as a surprise.

For several weeks, migrants who wish to go to France via the Montgenèvre pass have no longer been pushed back into Italy by the border police.

The reason? The decision of the Council of State of February 2, 2024 which limits refusals of entry of migrants at the borders. By canceling the part of the code of entry and stay of foreigners and the right of asylum, which allows the police to refuse entry to foreigners who arrive irregularly, the high court intends to enforce the European right to free movement of people.

A victory for associations

For Michel Rousseau, who chairs the Briançon association “Tous Migrants” and who has campaigned since 2017 for respect for the rights of migrants, it is a victory. Even if gray areas still need to be clarified.

“This change in practice is a great victory, but it is not enough, because what happens in the premises of the Border Police (PAF) remains opaque,” ​​he notes.

“The report of the Defender of Rights, published in April, reveals all the illegalities of the practices of the police at the borders (…) I remind you that ten people lost their lives here by taking risks in the mountains to flee the forces order and avoid systematic refoulement in defiance of their rights,” he continues.

Michel Rousseau assures that the decision of the Council of State and the latest 180-page report from the rights defender accessible online confirm a contempt for the law in particular in Montgenèvre and Menton.

Questioned by BFM DICI, a migrant was able to benefit from this change in “method” at the Franco-Italian border. Having been able to avoid the risks of a hazardous mountain crossing is obviously a good thing.

“I fled Guinea Conakry in 2017 to protect myself from persecution against the Fulani ethnic group of which I am a part, I suffered a lot and I arrive today in Briançon exhausted, I believe that the police took pity on me and that’s probably why they let me pass. I had tried via Ventimiglia, but there were too many of us there to attempt the crossing,” he confides.

A “vagueness” which creates unease in the police

“We want a clear legal framework, the officers must make decisions that are beyond their control, they no longer know what is in the nails,” regrets a police Source.

The latter evokes a “fluctuation” at the national level on the migration issue and returns the ball to the Hautes-Alpes prefecture. The police’s concern would be heightened by the arrival of good weather in Briançonnais.

Designed to accommodate six people, the Montgenèvre border police premises are considered unsuitable for checking the identity of a large number of migrants.

Contacted, the Hautes-Alpes prefecture has to date not responded to our requests.

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