According to numbers from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), French taxpayers must foot around 10 billion euros per year to accommodate recent mass migration waves.
The cost of immigration is a controversial matter in French politics. Marine Le Pen’s populist National Rally (RN) party estimates that immigration could cost around 10 billion to 70 billion euros a year when factoring in other costs, according to a franceinfo report. This possibly includes housing, medical benefits, taking care of unaccompanied minors, and other social benefits for migrants. This also includes associated costs of asylum seekers and illegals.
A report from last month roughly estimated that each minor illegal migrant puts the French taxpayer on the hook for 50,000 euros per year. With 41,000 underage migrants in France, French taxpayers must foot a bill of two billion euros.
Although the OECD report says that migrants bring in four billion euros annually, these numbers will likely turn into large fiscal deficits as the inflow of migrants keeps growing annually.
Most of this growth has been noticeable in the number of asylum seekers in France. During the last several years, France has set various records in the number of asylum claims. In 2018, there were 123,000 asylum claims.
The French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) highlighted that the largest number of asylum seekers in 2018 came from Afghanistan, which marked a 55 percent increase from the previous year.
Last week, the French parliament discussed the issue of immigration with French President Emmanuel Macron saying the country should not be “too attractive” for immigrants.
On the other hand, Marine Le Pen, has criticized Macron’s lax immigration measures and recently floated the idea of a national referendum on immigration reform.
“These are questions to which the French have the right to answer, have the right to be questioned because it’s been for the past 30 years that an immigration policy which is contrary to their will has been carried out,” Le Pen stated last month.
Beyond fiscal costs, there are legitimate social concerns when discussing the issue of immigration. Countries like France and the United Kingdom have witnessed the rise of migrant ghettoes thanks to unprecedented waves of mass migration. This facilitates the creation of ethnic enclaves that can impede assimilation and generate social strife.
Countries in the West will have to have frank discussions about immigration if they want to develop viable solutions that respect national integrity while also trying to attract immigrants who can add value to their new country of residence.
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