Anti-racism campaigners have gathered to protest against the French government’s plans for a far-reaching reform of the immigration law. The French parliament strongly backed the bill, by 367 votes to 164.The reforms would make the immigration system more selective, matching supply and demand relative to the needs of the French economy. The legislation is the brainchild of Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy:“It’s up to us to decide what is the best immigration policy for France. We can’t afford to be generous, that’s a fact. We’re not about to ask for permission from the the rest of the world to form our own policy.” Fighting talk, but opponents of the reform remain unimpressed.
“Sarkozy’s ‘brilliant’ idea is to spend money educating people but then remove them from developing countries. This is total stupidity. It means we’re removing any chance these countries have of moving forward. And so increasing the pressure of illegal immigration,” said Henri Emmanuelli from the Socialist Party.
Hundreds also took to the streets in Bamako, the capital of Mali, where Sarkozy begins a two-day West African official visit today.
Chanting “Sarkozy is a racist” and “Sarkozy not welcome”, the crowd was prevented from approaching the French embassy by security forces.
Twenty deputies from the government of Mali have said that Sarkozy, himself the son of a hungarian immigrant, was not welcome in their country.