EU News: Asylum Seeker Figures Continue to Rise as France Cracks DownThe number of “asylum seekers” entering the European Union — and then having access to soft touch Britain — rose by eight percent in 2009, an EU data source said this week as the French government announced sweeping new measures to try and halt rampant immigrant crime.
Statistics from the Eurodac agency, which runs a fingerprint database for identifying asylum seekers and “irregular border-crossers,” showed 236,939 asylum seekers last year.
However just 31,071 were apprehended after making it inside the EU, down from 61,945 the previous year, the data said.
Greece is responsible for 60 percent of all those fingerprinted after irregular entry, the agency's 2009 annual report said.
EU officials said so-called multiple asylum applications had been "constantly rising since 2007," and questioned the impact of different practices by member states for logging fingerprints and filing them to the bloc's central agencies.
The vast majority of EU entrants, 85 percent, came in through airports on tourist visas, the European Commission pointed out.
Member states dismissed 73 percent of asylum requests in 2009, the EU's Eurostat data agency said.
Almost one in four rejected candidates tried again in another country, showing up as such on the fingerprint database.
Meanwhile, French immigration minister Eric Besson has announced that his government will amend the law to strip naturalised French citizens of their nationality if they commit crimes punishable by five or more years in jail.
Mr Besson said he would also propose that repeat offenders born in France to foreign parents could be denied French citizenship.
French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux has also announced plans to strip French nationality from people with immigrant roots found guilty of killing a policeman and for importing Third World practices into France.
"I will present proposals before the end of the month for legal measures to implement the withdrawal of nationality from those who kill public officials, practice polygamy or excision (female circumcision)," Mr Hortefeux said.
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