Undocumented migrants who are audacious enough to lie about their age are beginning to occupy a growing number of empty properties. Within one week, a migrant who claimed to be a minor attacked four elderly women while hundreds have arbitrarily occupied an abandoned, dilapidated building in the country's second largest city.
France is struggling to tackle the damage and problems caused by migrants who commit a growing number of crimes in ways that are increasingly audacious. Migrants often deceive the authorities by lying about their age and claiming to be minors in order to get away with crimes and offences, if caught.
Police recently took into custody a 22-year-old man who claimed to be 15, after he and his accomplices squatted an apartment and robbed it a few days later. The young migrant's case was heard in a juvenile court but, when the judge had doubts, he ordered a bone test to determine the suspect's age. The test found that he was, in fact, not 15 but 22 years old, well over the legal age, and therefore punishable.
The court learned during the procedure that last year the migrant was also treated as a minor - even though his real age then was 21 - when he was found guilty by a juvenile court for a crime he committed in the north of France. Police discovered that the young migrant, besides occupying a flat and then robbing it, also attacked four elderly women in the city of Nimes in southern France between 25 October and 1 November. Since there is forensic evidence that he is over the legal age, he will no longer be tried by the juvenile court system. He is in police custody and his trial will begin on 1 December in court dealing with adult offenders, where the fact that he attacked vulnerable people will be an aggravating circumstance, according to the regional Objectif Gard newspaper.
Recently, Le Figaro has covered another shocking case involving migrants who arbitrarily occupied a building complex of 240 residential units built in Marseille in 1959. The complex was in such poor condition that it has been marked for demolition. Although police has mobilised several units, the squatters got wind of the operation and most of them had left by the time police arrived. The officers only found about 60 people in the occupied building. District Mayor Marion Bareille reported the developments of Twitter. She said children would be accommodated in gyms as soon as possible because, although the squatters are mainly West African men, there are women and children among them.
J'étais ce matin aux côtés des nombreuses forces de l'ordre mobilisées pour l'évacuation de la cité du Petit Séminaire. Pratiquement tous les squatteurs étaient partis avant l'intervention...— Marion Bareille (@MarionBareille) November 30, 2020
Nos gymnases doivent maintenant être rendus au plus vite aux enfants des 13&14. pic.twitter.com/558hdwdaaS
A few days before the operation, some migrants living in the building had to be transferred to state shelters because there was a fire. Even though the 24 migrants rescued by the authorities were accommodated in various hotels in the city, Médecins du Monde said this was not the proper solution because many were taken to unknown locations. Besides, while women and children will be safe in the hotels during the winter, the men can only stay there for 10 days, the relief organisation said.
However, they should under no circumstances return to the dilapidated, old building, because it's in an extremely poor state. Authorities are afraid of another tragedy similar to the one that took place in November 2018, when two blocks of flats collapsed on rue d'Aubagne in central Marseille, killing eight people.
URGENT - Effondrement d'un immeuble rue d'Aubagne à #Marseille. Aucune information sur de potentielles victimes. @Prefet13 ouvre immédiatement une cellule de suivi à la préfecture avec @prefpolice13 et @MarinsPompiers— Préfet de la région PACA et des Bouches-du-Rhône (@Prefet13) November 5, 2018
Évitez le secteur ! Priorité aux secours ! pic.twitter.com/lllhHWStJM