The first reports of Sarkozy's immigration reform plan are coming in and already one can see that the opposition is just beginning to mobilise.
France Races to Oust Illegal Immigrants
By ELAINE GANLEY
Saturday, September 22, 2007
As France races to deport 25,000 illegal immigrants by the end of the year _ a quota set by President Nicolas Sarkozy _ tensions are mounting and the crackdown is taking a toll.
Critics say the hunt threatens values in a nation that prides itself on being a cradle of human rights and a land of asylum. Protesters have gathered by the dozens in Paris to protect illegal aliens as police move in.
But with three months left in the year, police have caught at least 11,800 immigrants, less than half the target, so Sarkozy has ordered officials to pick up the pace.
"I want numbers," Sarkozy reportedly told Brice Hortefeux, head of the Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Co-Development, which Sarkozy set up after taking office in May. "This is a campaign commitment. The French expect (action) on this."
The Immigration Ministry estimates 200,000 to 400,000, illegal immigrants and Sarkozy wants them deported and a new system put in place to organize and regulate immigration based on annual needs assessments.
As the Sarkozy government moves to implement its identification plan and deportations, injuries to foreigners are being used by human rights groups to build resistance including neighborhood groups and a police union spokesman said that "Reactions are becoming more and more violent." Even the police are chafing at the increased workload of rounding up and deporting 25,000 illegals by the end of the year.