Paris: France's immigration minister says the country has stopped expelling illegal immigrants from Haiti in the wake of the massive earthquake there.

Eric Besson said in a statement Thursday that all proceedings aimed at expelling Haitians caught in France illegally have been suspended.

The statement did not say how many people would be affected by the suspension, nor how long it was expected to last.

The Haitian community in France is estimated at tens of thousands, including those here both legally and illegally.

France expels thousands of illegal immigrants each year.

Tuesday's magnitude-7 quake hit the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, wreaking widespread devastation. There is no estimate on how many people were killed.