Éric Zemmour has asserted a number of lies about asylum seekers | Photo: Reuters
Éric Zemmour has asserted a number of lies about asylum seekers | Photo: Reuters

Contrary to what the far-right French presidential candidate Éric Zemmour has claimed, not all asylum seekers receive €430 per month from the state. Moreover, Zemmour is mistaken when he says that social housing is mainly occupied by foreigners. InfoMigrants debunks some of his claims.

Aid allocated to asylum seekers

What Zemmour claims: "Do you know that in addition to free accommodation and free care, we give each asylum seeker a bank card credited with €430 per month, so that he can spend your tax money quietly?" (Lille, February 5, 2022)

What is he talking about? In this statement, Zemmour refers to the Aid for Asylum Seekers (ADA), implemented in 2015. This aid is paid to anyone who has registered with the prefecture in order to file an asylum application. It is used to buy basic necessities, food, school supplies for children, clothing...

To obtain this allowance, the asylum seeker must have accepted the material conditions of reception of the French Office of Immigration and Integration (Ofii), in particular accommodation in the National Reception Facility (DNA), generally in the region - those who refuse accommodation in the region have their ADA cut off.

Asylum seekers are issued a bank card, which only allows them to make payments and not withdraw money.

The amount of the ADA can vary depending on the family situation of the person. A single asylum seeker receives €6.80 per day, or €206 on average per month. A family of 10 people is entitled to €37.40 per day.

In addition to this amount, there may be other assistance related to the payment for accommodation. If the applicant has not been offered accommodation in the DNA, he or she receives an additional €7.40. This means that the total support can amount to €14.20 per day, or €431 per month.

Why this is not true: Zemmour claims that this €431 is paid to all asylum seekers in addition to "free accommodation". This statement is therefore false.

As seen above, the people housed in the DNA receive a total of €206.83.

According to government statistics for December 2021, France has just over 111,000 asylum seekers. The majority of these are taken care of by the state. According to the head of the Ofii, Didier Leschi, 30% of applicants are not housed in the DNA and could therefore claim maximum assistance.

Read more: Help for migrants in France: A list of organizations

Accommodation rights for migrants

What Zemmour claims: "The DALO law (...) allows for the accommodation of illegal immigrants and rejected and unsuccessful asylum seekers." (on France Inter radio, February 7, 2022) / "The SRU law, which obliges all cities to provide social housing at 25%, is spreading immigration." (on Europe 1 radio, January 6, 2022)

What is he talking about? On March 5 2007, the French parliament unanimously adopted a law making the right to housing enforceable. Known as the DALO law, this text obliges the French state to move away from an obligation of diligence towards a performance obligation in ensuring access to housing for all. This means that people with inadequate housing must be recognized as a priority in order to assert their right to housing or dignified accommodation.

The SRU law (Relative to solidarity and urban renewal), adopted in 2000, obliges certain municipalities to have a certain number of social housing units. Its objective is to promote social diversity in urban planning.

Why this is not true: Asylum seekers are accommodated within the National Reception System (DNA). The DALO Law does not concern them. Undocumented migrants are excluded from this system, because they do not have a valid residence permit in France.

On the other hand, refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are concerned by the DALO law, but they are not considered to be asylum seekers or illegal immigrants because they now have a legal status.

As far as the SRU law is concerned, here again people who have unofficial status cannot benefit from it, for the same reasons as the DALO law. And, contrary to Zemmour's assertions, the Fondation Abbé Pierre states that, in 2021, French people occupied 80% of social housing.


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