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Thursday, May 18, 2006

New French immigration bill

Next stop, AEI

MPs back French immigration bill

The French parliament has given strong backing to a controversial immigration bill that will make it more difficult for the unskilled to settle in France.

The bill offers residence permits to highly qualified newcomers from outside the European Union.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who drafted the bill, says it will bring France into line with other countries but critics say it is racist.

Mr Sarkozy is on a visit to West Africa, where he is facing protests.

Ahead of his arrival in Mali - the homeland of many immigrants living in France - hundreds staged a march against the legislation in the capital, Bamako.

The proposed law also requires immigrants from outside the European Union to sign a contract agreeing to learn French and to respect the principles of the French Republic, and makes it more difficult for them to bring their families over to join them.

Deputies in the National Assembly approved the bill by 367 votes to 164 on Wednesday.

It must also be passed by the Senate, which will start debating it next month.

Mr Sarkozy has argued that riots by youths in immigrant suburbs across France last November showed the system of immigration and integration was failing.

He says France, like a number of other Western countries, needs to do choose the immigrants it needs.

"It's selective immigration," he said.

Sarkozy would make a good Republican.

But I think the French are looking at this the wrong way, it's not unskilled workers which are the problem, but the isolation of minorities from the wider French society. Unlike people who come to America and want to be American, there seem to be many French citizens, and that's who lives in most of those "suburbs", who feel little to no connection to their own country.

Sarkozy's mouth got him in trouble during the riots and this bill misses the point.

What is the point of learning French if you can't get a decent job with your bac?

A kid crosses the border here, gets an education, and goes in the military or to college, he can get a job and live in a decent neighborhood. If that happened in France, the odds of riots and Islamic fundamentalism spreading would be a lot lower.

You could close the borders all you want, but if your citizens feel alienated, immigration is hardly the issue.

posted by Steve @ 12:05:00 AM

12:05:00 AM

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