Round-Robin Charters Will Collect Illegal Immigrants In Six
Over the last year, incidents like the murder of Dutch filmmaker
Theo van Gogh by unassimilated immigrants who came for the welfare,
and stayed to commit crime, have caused the nations of the European
Union to reassess their open -- and flagrantly abused --
immigration policies. Following a suggestion by Spanish Interior
Minister Jose Antonio Alonso, French Foreign Minister Nicolas
Sarkozy announced Tuesday that five European nations will work
together to deport illegal aliens by air, as France has been doing
for some time.
The participating nations are the five largest countries in
Western Europe: Britain, Spain, Germany, France and Italy. Each
flight will originate in one nation and then fly to the other four
in turn, collecting deportees for a single destination, before
bringing them home -- wherever that is. The Associated Press quoted
Italian Interior Minister Guiseppe Pisanu as saying that the
flights would begin in "days".
The plan was agreed upon at a European summit meeting in Evian,
It is believed, but not confirmed, that the French charter
operator Euralair-Horizons, which has operated deportee charters
for France, will provide the aircraft and crews. The Paris-based
airline has operated both Boeing and Airbus aircraft before, and
now has a fleet of six 737s, mostly 737-800s. Apart from deportee
flights, Euralair-Horizons has specialized in regular passenger
charter flights to Africa and Asia.
The deportees will primarily be aliens who have entered the
European nations illegally, but some of them may be criminals whose
sentences are complete.
Most of the illegal immigrants will be deported to Africa and
the Middle East, although some European nations also have trouble
with illegal immigration from Asia and from some non-EU European
The story hit many Europeans as a surprise, but it is actually
just an extension of a successful French program that's over two
years old. In the 1990s, France mostly deported aliens on scheduled
aircraft, trying to avoid landing-rights issues in deportee
destinations like the Ivory Coast, Algeria and Senegal. But
starting in 2003, France chartered flights weekly, sometimes alone,
sometimes in a bilateral arrangement with another European nation,
to bring deportees home.
Along with the African nations mentioned above, destinations for
the French flights have also included Afghanistan, Romania, and
Nothing has been said about security measures, which would seem
like a serious concern. Activists have targeted airlines that
charter aircraft for deportation, with the result that KLM and
Lufthansa, to name two, will not participate in deportations either
as charter providers or on scheduled flights.
Sarkozy also noted that deportations in France are up 50% this
year, and called for an annual debate on immigration in the French,
and other European, parliaments. His goal is to have desirable
immigrants admitted readily, and allowed to bring their families,
and to exclude "those that nobody wants."
France and Britain have already streamlined asylum applications,
at one time a boondoggle tied up with bogus applications from tens
of thousands of immigrants from democratic, but poor, countries.
Other proposals raised in Evian included document copying at flight
origin (many illegal immigrants destroy their travel documents
enroute to make it hard for the receiving nation to determine who
they actually are) and restricting the issuance of visas to
nationals of countries that refuse to take deported migrants