There is pressure on solidarity people here, here, here, here, here, here and there), there is pressure on journalists, there is also pressure on the economic actors, in a logic of arousing discriminatory practices, to reinforce the isolation of the Exiles, which ultimately makes them more dependent on the “smugglers”.
The repression of assistance to people in an “irregular situation” is provided for by Article L-622-1 of the CESEDA (Code on Access and Residence of Foreigners and the Right of Asylum), which provides that ” Subject to the exemptions provided for in Article L. 622-4, any person who, by direct or indirect assistance, facilitates or attempts to facilitate the illegal entry, movement or residence of a foreigner in France shall be punished by imprisonment for five years and receive a fine of 30,000 Euros. ”
Article L-622-4 lists the exceptions to the rule, the rule being repression:
“May not give rise to criminal proceedings on the basis of Articles L. 622-1 to L. 622-3 aid for the irregular stay of a foreigner when it is the fact:
1. The ascendants or descendants of the foreigner, their spouse, the brothers and sisters of the foreigner or their spouse;
(2) The spouse of the foreigner, the person who is noted to be in a conjugal relationship with him, or the ascendants, descendants, brothers and sisters of the spouse of the foreigner or of the person who is noted to be married to him;
(3) Any natural or legal person, where the act reproached of did not give rise to any direct or indirect compensation and consisted in providing legal advice or giving food , accommodation or medical care intended to ensure decent living conditions while abroad, or any other assistance aimed at preserving the dignity or physical integrity of the person.”
But when you are a service provider, and your activity can contribute to the “irregular entry, movement or residence of a foreigner in France”, what happens then ? You have no authority or the competence to verify the right of residence of the persons, you do not have the right, what do you do? For example you are a taxi driver and you take customers from one place to another.
This is what happened to a taxi driver in Lens, some of whose clients are Exiles, who is being prosecuted under Article L-622-1 of CESEDA.
Asked by La Voix du Nord, Calais taxi drivers also said they had transported Exiles in the course of their work and that this was part of their income.
And if their activity can lead them to criminal prosecution from the moment some clients are undocumented, how can these providers protect themselves otherwise than by adopting discriminatory practices that are themselves under the influence of the law ? And if we chase taxi drivers, why not the SCNF, who are likely to carry the same people by train?
This case is not isolated, since people managing hotels have also been arrested recently in Calais, while in the bars there is an intrication of controls on compliance with regulations on drinking places but also checks on customer identity.
This is in a context where the destruction of the shantytown of Calais which has led to the destruction of 150 jobs of people on permanent contracts with the association La Vie active, which managed day services, shelters for women and children, and the container camp on behalf of the state, as well as the jobs of subcontractors, plus the hotel sector was full at the off-season because of journalists, volunteers from different countries … and police officers. And much wider economic impact that should be assessed.
This in a context of deep economic and social crisis, both in Calais and Lens. But it does not matter to the state, who practice a politics of scorched earth around the Exiles.