Interior Minister Christophe Castaner revealed the figure to MPs in the National Assembly on Tuesday and claimed responsibility for the huge hike in deportations.
“The entry into office of this government marked a turning point [in the fight against illegal immigration] with a clear resumption of deportations,” said Castaner who succeeded Gerrard Collomb last month.
“After an increase of 14 percent in 2017 in the removal of foreigners who do not have the right of residence we have seen a further increase this year of 20 percent,” he said.
In 2017 there were 14,859 deportations according to figures from the Directorate General of Foreigners in France (DGEF).
In August 2018 the French parliament adopted a controversial asylum and immigration bill designed to accelerate asylum procedures by cutting the maximum processing time to 90 days after entering France from 120 previously.
As well as slimming down the time taken to overcome administrative hurdles the text cuts to six months, from 11, the time limit to make an asylum claim while facilitating both the expulsion of those rejected and the acceptance of those whose bid succeeds.
The government insisted the law, as Europe struggles to find common ground on how to deal with the ongoing migration crisis, will allow “controlled immigration, an effective right to asylum and successful integration” of those accepted.
On Tuesday Castaner backed the tougher procedures now in place.
“I am in favour of stricter procedures and a firmer application of the requirements to leave the country. That is the message I have passed on and that I will pass on through the entire chain of decision making,” Castaner said.
The minister added that next year €48 million will be invested to provide more places in detention centres for undocumented migrants.
Castaner also said the government plans to “scale-up integration policy” for migrants who arrive legally in France, notably by doubling the number of hours of French lessons and civic education they receive as well as boosting resources for their integration into the working world in France.