There’s a great number of happy people in France today as a result of the news that the upper house of the French parliament has passed a tough new immigration bill. The bill was passed by an overwhelming number of votes weeks after it was adopted by members of the lower chamber of parliament.
The French immigration reform bill makes it more difficult for unskilled immigrants to settle in France, which in the past has created discord among French citizens who work menial jobs. The new bill, expected to be signed into law very soon, adds a number of tough measures to France’s immigration policy….
One significant provision is a requirement for immigrants to sign a contract agreeing to learn French and to respect the principles of the French Republic. In addition it makes it more difficult for them to bring their families over to join them. It also offers no provision for so-called anchor babies who are afforded citizenship as a result of being born in the country.
According to the French government, the following new rules will be part of the immigration law:
Only the qualified immigrants will be granted “skills and talents” residency permits.
Foreigners are only allowed into France to work, and not live off benefits such as welfare and free healthcare.
Foreign spouses of immigrants allowed to remain in France must wait longer before being granted residence cards.
Migrants must agree to learn French.
Migrants must sign a ‘contract’ stipulating they must respect the French way of life.
The new law also scraps the old one regarding workers receiving automatic citizenship after living and working 10 years in the country.
This is a very positive development for Europe, as it indicates that the French are electing the slow and civilized means of ending their migration problem rather than the fast and brutal one that I feared was in the cards. Americans may despise the French, but they have historically demonstrated a deepset national ruthlessness that belies their image as cheese-eating surrender monkeys.
One need only compare Algeria to Vietnam to see the difference. It will be interesting to see if the French follow through on their new laws, and how that will affect the American immigration debate. It’s interesting, too, to see how the Bush administration’s pro-immigration positions and arguments are so similar to those of the French socialist party.