France begins moving migrants out of ‘The Jungle’ camp; 1,600 transferred

CALAIS, France,  France on Monday moved about 1,600 mostly young men from Africa and Afghanistan out of the so-called “Jungle” migrant camp and into temporary housing throughout the country.

Migrants sit in front of a fence that separates them from the highway to England near the makeshift camp known as “The Jungle” of Calais, northern France, on Sept. 10. The French government said it would close down the jungle before the end of the year, and the process began on Monday when the 2,500 migrants are expected to be relocated. File Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | License Photo

The were an estimated 7,000 migrants living at the camp in northern France prior to the relocation. The dismantling of the camp will begin on Tuesday with the process expected to finish by December.
The migrants will be taken to reception centers throughout France where they will be given the opportunity to claim asylum or face deportation. French officials told BBC News they expect 2,500 migrants will be moved out of the camp on Monday.

“The immense majority of migrants present at Calais are eligible for international protection,” the French Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Many migrants are attempting to enter the United Kingdom because they have families there. Earlier this year, the physical size of the camp was decreased by half but the population continued to increase. Reports of more violence and worsening conditions also increased.

France largely relied on humanitarian organizations to care for the migrants and mostly ignored what grew into a political and humanitarian disaster until recently, The New York Times reported.

By Andrew V. Pestano