In France a record 33,000 illegals were deported in 2011, an 18 percent increase from the previous year. Naturalizations are also down by record numbers. And they plan to deport even more in 2012. Why can’t we?
HUFFPO (H/T Susan K) President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government has made a play for the anti-immigrant voters who may determine whether he wins a second term, saying Tuesday that France had booted out more illegal migrants in the past year than ever before.
Sarkozy’s interior minister added that he wants thousands more expelled this year, along with fewer foreigners legally living in France. Anyone who wants to stay, he added, must shed the traditions that contradict French values.
The (not so) conservative president is unpopular and facing a tough challenge from the resurgent far right in presidential elections to be held in April and May in an increasingly diverse France.
“This result is 5,000 higher than the initial objective decided upon at the start of the year. It is the highest result ever achieved,” he said. The government wants the figure to rise to 35,000 this year, he added. Echoing one of Sarkozy’s favored themes, Gueant said immigrants must better integrate.
“We reject … cloistered lives lived along ethnic and religious grounds, those that live by their own laws,” Gueant told reporters. “The foreigners that we welcome here must integrate themselves. It is up to them to adapt to us, not the other way around.”
The comment was in part a reference to France’s ban on Islamic face veils, a 2010 law that supporters said defended women’s freedoms, as well as a ban on Muslim street prayer, but critics said stigmatized millions of moderate Muslims (Unfortunately) France has western Europe’s largest Muslim population, many with family ties to former French colonies in North Africa.
Sarkozy has championed strict policies on crime and illegal immigration – ground where he is politically threatened by far right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. Le Pen has a strong voter base, and her National Front party has targeted immigrants and Muslims for its ire. Anti-racism group SOS Racisme called the figures released Tuesday “numbers of shame.” (HA HA HA)