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Readers discuss deportation of Roma from France

French officials defended their Roma deportation program this week, while critics call the program offensive and ineffective. DW readers were similarly divided on the issue.

Police officers guard a group of Roma disembarking from a bus at the airport

France's deportation program is not new and has been in place for years

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

France deports dozens of Roma

As long as they are doing no harm, leave them where they are. We are all human beings capable of love and caring. The Roma have a lot to teach us. Let them stay where they are. -- Sheila , Great Britain

I cannot see the reason. If they were working and paying taxes, why this exclusion? If they're unemployed, yes, send them back as soon as possible. For one thing, they need cash to live, so they will be bound to cause problems acquiring the needed cash. In a way, I don't blame them. But citizens also have to live in peace. -- Henry , Malta

I congratulate France on its actions. -- Fred , Canada

Disruption of people's lives is always a disagreeable and unfortunate consequence - especially in countries that call themselves democratic. The real question is: Why are the Roma in France in large numbers? Were they invited, enticed with job offers or better living conditions? Did they only have short visitor permits which they overstayed? If they are living illegally in France, then the government has legitimate grounds to deport them. Is the Government discriminating against the Roma, who they previously permitted to reside in France? What about other illegal residents - will they be next on the deportation list? -- Neville , Canada

I applaud the actions of the French government in closing down the illegal Roma camps and deporting the inhabitants. It is time for us to realize that some people are not immigrating for political freedom but rather as a means to escape the poverty of their home country. However, in doing so, they resort to any means possible including criminal activities to survive. Some measures of control must be introduced and enforced for the benefit and welfare of the majority population. This is not only a problem in France, as we are experiencing this phenomenon here in the USA. I have also seen this in Hamburg and other cities in Germany. -- Michael , US

The government of France could do more to help the Roma, but as pointed out by Rodika Novakovitch in a France24 article: 'In Paris suburb, Roma families face lives of limbo,' the Romanian government is 'racist,' and the government of France would find itself complicit in assisting the Romanian government in its ethnic cleansing policy to drive out Roma, from Romania. France and the EU need to get tough on Romania and Bulgaria, etc. -- Charles , Great Britain

Personally, I like the idea of a global citizen, but I'm not sure if we are there yet. -- James via Facebook

The repatriation program is not just unjust but very stupid. It doesn't work on the problems at all. -- Julius via Facebook

It costs a lot of money and they will come back - surely there is some other way to get the problem solved! -- Nina via Facebook

When you are in another sovereign country, regardless of being part of the EU, there are local laws which must be adhered to, by its own citizens and those people travelling to it. These laws have no exceptions when it comes to ethnicity, race or religion. Setting up a makeshift home and loitering in a restricted area, or working illegally, are crimes, and it's up to the host country to handle this as the courts consider appropriate. France decided on deportation with fully paid transport and a reasonable living allowance, and that seems more than fair. Consider the costs of keeping someone in jail as opposed to sending them back to their home country. The latter is a huge saving for the taxpayer and a smart move. It's not only the Roma who are being deported, but it also happens, for example, to Poles and Slovaks who work in Germany illegally and get caught doing it. This happened to someone in my village who worked illegally doing construction in Germany. No single group should claim 'victim status' for such actions because it's not a unique situation. It's fair justice. Don't break the law. -- Eugene via Facebook

Compiled by Greg Wiser
Editor: Susan Houlton

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