Paris: The French government, under fire for
sending thousands of Roma back to Romania and Bulgaria, on Tuesday
announced plans to step up deportations of foreigners caught
stealing or begging aggressively.
Immigration Minister Eric Besson, outlining measures to
fight illegal immigration and people trafficking originating
in Romania and Bulgaria, announced plans to change the law to
allow easier deportation of offenders.
"We must broaden the possibilities for issuing
deportation orders (for people who pose) a threat to public
order by repeated acts of theft or aggressive begging," he
Besson said he planned to add two amendments to this end
to an immigration bill that will be presented to parliament
late next month.
The minister was speaking at a joint press conference
with Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux, who noted that one in
five thefts in the Paris area was carried out by Romanian
Crime by Romanians -- France does not gather crime
statistics by ethnic groups, but many Romanians in Paris are
from the Roma minority -- in the French capital rose by 259
per cent over the past 18 months, he said.
"Today in Paris the reality is that the perpetrator of
one theft in five is a Romanian," he said, adding: "One theft
in four committed by a minor is committed by a Romanian
Hortefeux said the reality of the situation could be
seen by any citizen "as he sees women and children spend
entire days in appalling conditions in order to give their
spoils to a master back in the home country."