Underlining the enormous role foreigners play in France’s crime wave, the country’s own Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin acknowledged that 48 percent of criminal acts in France’s biggest city, Paris, were committed by foreigners, while they accounted for 55 percent of crimes in Marseille, and 39 percent in Lyon.
The numbers are even more shocking when it is taken into account that only 7.4 percent of France’s population is foreign-born, meaning foreigners account for an enormously outsized role in crime in some of France’s biggest population centers.
“48 percent of people arrested for acts of delinquency in Paris, 55 percent in Marseille, and 39 percent in Lyon are foreigners. In France, foreigners represent 7.4 percent of the population,” said Darmanin. “Of course, the foreigner is not by nature a criminal. But we have a problem with foreign delinquency.”
Other statistics over the years have shown the outsized role foreigners play, with data from the country’s public transport system showing that foreigners account for 63 percent of those arrested for sexual assault and 92 percent for petty theft.
The category of serious crimes has been growing in France for the last two decades, with murders up 91 percent since 2001. Since that time, millions of migrants have moved to France, leaving the country with the largest Muslim population in Europe, according to Pew Research.
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Darmanin, who serves under Emmanuel Macron and is a member of the president’s political party, is under intense pressure due to France’s worsening security situation. He has often presented tough talk on migration and Islamic extremism, but at the same time, his ministry has a horrendous record deporting illegal migrants, including those convicted of serious crimes. Darmanin has also banned patriotic youth organizations that seek restrictions on immigration when they protested what they said were his weak policies on border security.
Darmanin has stepped up some deportations, stating that more than 700 foreign nationals suspected of radicalization have been deported from France in recent months.
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“We oppose people like Mr. Iquioussen,” Darmanin stated in an interview for the Le Journal du Dimanche news outlet, referring to the Moroccan-French radical Muslim preacher. “Every time, it is a fight. The more difficult it is, the more I fight.”
“Someone takes a knife and goes after Salman Rushdie, and others arm them mentally. I have not forgotten that he was a radicalized man. (…) Iquioussen is one of those who sow atmospheric jihadism, as Gilles Kepel explains. Therefore, we were surprised by the decision of the administrative court. We are thus appealing to the Council of State,” he commented on Iquioussen’s suspended expulsion.
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Darmanin spoke out against the idea put forward at the beginning of the summer by Sacha Houlié, president of the law commission of the National Assembly, who wants to grant the right to vote to foreigners. Houlié is a member of Macron’s party as well.
“I am strongly against it. (…) For me, the right to vote is linked to nationality. And Europeans who vote in local elections can do so because the French can vote by reciprocity in their countries,” he said.
Regarding “urban rodeos,” in which young people mostly of a migrant background race vehicles and do stunts with motorcycle or cars, Darmanin was accused of being in favor of this phenomenon, but he strictly denies it.
“Is this a joke? I live and am elected from Tourcoing, so I am not new to a problem I largely experienced when I was mayor of this town. But, this year, there have been various despicable facts, including this little girl knocked down in Pontoise. These rodeos are criminal acts. They deserve a strong response. Last year, the issue was mortar fire and attacks on firefighters. I note that the state’s response was firm and that these phenomena are much less significant this year,” he said.
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According to the minister, France has to apply the two anti-rodeo laws that already exist. He emphasized that urban rodeos are a severe type of crime.
“For this, we must intensify the police presence on the ground. But the fight also involves investigation. For example, now we can use telephone data to prove the links between the arrested person and the motorcycle owner. And the results are there: 2,200 people arrested for rodeos and 1,800 vehicles seized since the beginning of the year. A record!” he added.
Despite the problems presented by foreigners in France, Darmanin claims that the answer is not to pull back on mass immigration, a move most French support.
“A foreigner who commits an act of serious delinquency must be expelled very quickly because he spits on the ground that welcomes him. I know that common-sense French people, those of the working and middle classes, agree with that, whether their name is Robert or Mohamed,” he claimed.