France cracks down on ‘illegal’ immigrants, Roma

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls says Paris will proceed with its controversial crackdown on “illegal” immigrants and Roma despite recent rallies staged by French people against the deportation of a Roma schoolgirl.
In an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche , published on Sunday, Valls said that “nothing will divert me from my course,” while referring to criticisms provoked after the expulsion of the girl.

On October 9, Leonarda Dibrani was expelled from the eastern French town of Levier and deported to Kosovo along with her family. She was on a school bus with her classmates when police forced her to get off the bus and leave.

Leonarda’s expulsion has triggered public anger. Massive student protests have been held to call for the return of the 15-year-old girl.

On Saturday, Leonarda rejected French President Francois Hollande’s offer to return alone and finish her studies.

“If she makes a request, and if she wants to continue her studies, she will be given a welcome, but only her,” Hollande said live on television on Saturday.

Later in the day, Dibrani spoke about the issue and rejected the offer made by Hollande that she could return to France but without her family.

“I will not go alone to France, I will not abandon my family. I’m not the only one who has to go to school, there are also my brothers and sisters,” the girl said.

On September 24, French interior minister said most of some 20,000 Roma migrants housed in makeshift camps around French cities could never be integrated into the French society and should be “taken back to the border” for transfer to Romania and Bulgaria.

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