A Georgian family under OQTF threatened with expulsion in Gard: an entire village mobilizes

A Georgian family under OQTF threatened with expulsion in Gard: an entire village mobilizes

A strong outpouring of solidarity was triggered around this family from Saint-Hippolyte. Midi Libre – Correspondent

Miranda and Gurami and their three children, threatened in their country of origin, found refuge in France and are thriving in Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort. But their repeated requests for papers were not heard.

Miranda and Gurami, originally from Georgia, arrived in France in March 2018, with the desire to protect their two children, fleeing threats from the Georgian mafia. With Tamar, aged 10 at the time, and Lazare, 3, they landed in Paris, driven by the promise of a country where they could find refuge. Then begins their obstacle course…

French lessons and schooling for children

From April, their asylum application was registered in Montpellier with the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons. The family is directed to Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort by the Reception Center for Asylum Seekers (Cada) during the procedure. Immediately, Miranda and Gurami enroll in French classes (Miranda will even obtain a diploma in French in 2022) while the two children begin their integration into local life.

Despite all their efforts, the first blow came in June 2018: their asylum request was rejected. Their appeal, in March 2019, will meet the same fate. Faced with this decision, they are forced to leave the accommodation allocated by the Cada. But the family believes in their future in France and decides to stay, supported by an individual who agrees to temporarily accommodate them in Saint-Hippolyte. Since then, Miranda and Gurami have moved several times, helped by a local collective and residents.

Living safe in France

In January 2023, Marta, their third child, was born in France. Six months later, they decided to submit a residence permit application to the Nîmes prefecture, proving their financial autonomy and their community commitment. "They never asked for any help, never went to associations to request anything, even food. They have always managed to live and support their children. They speak French better than some French people! They have real projects, job promises. However, we ask them to have papers to work and we refuse them their papers because they don't work, it's crazy, deplores Vanessa , resident of Saint-Hippolyte, whose son plays football with one of the little ones.

Their file appears complete: all the documents requested by the prefecture have been validated by a lawyer. But the sentence falls: after more than five years in France, their request was rejected in May, accompanied by an Obligation to leave French territory (OQTF).

Why was the OQTF pronounced ?

Questioned, the prefecture of Nîmes explains the decision to refuse the title of s  Today, accompanied by an OQTF, recalling first of all that Georgia is part of the list of safe countries of origin according to the National Court of the right to asylum. "These two people entered irregularly in March 2018",continues the prefecture which indicates that in "the absence of seniority, of regularityé and stability of stay on the national territory, in addition to the absence of sufficient income and the non-execution of the OQTF dating from 2019, refusals of entry A day with an OQTF has been issued. &eac;dict&eac;sà against them on April 29, 2024.

In the small Gard commune of nearly 4,000 inhabitants, the shock is total. Residents, mayor and several departmental councilors launched a petition which will collect more than 3,000 signatures and signed a morality certificate. Friday, May 24, a support rally was held on the market, to show solidarity with this family who aspires to a secure future in France. During the last municipal council, the mayor reaffirmed his desire to find a favorable outcome to this situation.

Their glimmer of hope ? A motivated appeal, accompanied by the famous petition, which will be sent to the prefect next week and a procedure to contest the refusal initiated by their lawyer with the court administrative office of Nîmes. To finally no longer live in fear of tomorrow and unpack their suitcases once and for all.

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