ELOI – a French database to manage the expulsion of illegal migrants

By EDRi · January 16, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

On 26 December 2007, the French government published a decree creating the
ELOI file, a database aimed at facilitating the expulsion of illegal
migrants. In March 2007, the French highest administrative court cancelled a
first attempt by the government to create this file, after 4 French NGOs,
among which EDRI member IRIS, filed a case against the Interior ministry.

While the March text was cancelled by the Conseil d’Etat for procedural
reasons only, the new version shows some important progress related to
concerns raised by the NGOS. The main changes are that no data will be kept
on visitors of illegal migrants in retention centres, and that personal data
of citizens with which illegal immigrants are staying, when not in retention
centres are kept for 3 months rather than 3 years.

While this step backwards from the government side is a direct result
of the French NGOs action, the ELOI database remains unacceptable,
according to the authors of the former complaint, with regards to the
migrants themselves and their families. The duration of the retention
of their data remains 3 years for most of the data, and data on their
children are still kept in the ELOI file. Last but not least, the
database still contains data on “the need for specific surveillance
(of the migrant) with regards to the public order’. According to the
NGOs, this demonstrates that the government makes a direct
association between immigration and criminality.

Moreover, the decree contains new provisions, adding to the ELOI
database an impressive amount of administrative and judicial data
dealing with all aspects of the expulsion process, most of them to be
retained for 3 years. In addition, a new purpose has been set to this file,
which is to produce statistics on expulsion decisions and their actual

These problems, as well as the Sarkozy administration setting up
quantitative objectives – a minimum of 25000 expulsions targeted in 2008 –
have made the French NGOs declare that the actual meaning of this file is
the government willingness to manage the expulsion of migrants at an
unprecedented level. They consider that with the ELOI database, this
expulsion policy has reached an industrial level.

Decree n. 2007-1890 creating the ELOI database (only in French, 26.12.2007)

CNIL’s (French DPA) opinion on the draft decree (only in French, 24.05.2007)

French NGOs (CIMADE, GISTI, IRIS, LDH) joint press release
(only in French, 03.01.2008)

IRIS dossier on foreigners and databases in France (only in French)

EDRI-gram: French high court cancels the creation of illegal
migrants database (14.03.2007)

(Contribution by Meryem Marzouki, EDRI member IRIS – France)