Paris, May 25, 2011
The government is, like you, determined to fight hard against all forms of illegal immigration, including from Tunisia. There’s no reason to accept onto our soil people who leave Tunisia not for political reasons – that would also be paradoxical at a time when Tunisia is opening up to a new era of freedom and democracy – but for strictly economic reasons.
Even if there aren’t many of them, those migrants do include certain Tunisian nationals who escaped from Tunisian prisons during the revolution, and also certain members of Ben Ali’s sinister police force who chose to flee Tunisia rather than face judicial prosecution in their country.
We’re taking action on three fronts.
The first front is to return all those we arrest who are on our soil illegally. Since February more than 3,200 Tunisian nationals have been returned to either Tunisia or Italy. More than 2,500 are subject to administrative orders to be returned to the border. In Alpes-Maritimes department, more than 3,800 people have been arrested.
The second front is to ensure more resolute action by Tunisia to keep prospective migrants on her soil. Things are improving.
The third front is to secure more active support by Tunisia in readmitting her nationals. I spoke about it to my Tunisian counterpart during my visit to that country a few days ago: we found ways to manage the difficulties encountered./.