Elaine Ganley, AP, June 4, 2007
France set tough new quotas for the number of illegal immigrants authorities should arrest and expel each month, the new immigration minister said Monday.
Brice Hortefeux, who heads the newly created Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Co-Development, said a monthly quota also would be set for ferreting out those employed in France illegally.
In a meeting with security officials, Hortefeux reiterated President Nicolas Sarkozy’s goal of 25,000 expulsions by the end of 2007—compared with 24,000 in 2006—and set a year-end goal of 125,000 arrests for alleged illegal entry or illegal residence, a ministry statement said. The number of those already arrested was not immediately clear.
Sarkozy, who was elected May 6, pledged during his campaign to create a ministry of immigration and national identity to rein in the flow of migrants and ensure they are integrated into French society. Riots in French housing projects in 2005 were largely driven by anger among children of immigrants at persistent discrimination and a feeling of alienation from mainstream society.
Many saw Sarkozy’s proposal as a nod to the electorate on the extreme right, which long has made fighting immigration one of its main causes.
“Generosity is not opening wide the borders without thought for how people will integrate, how they will live, how they will subsist,” Fillon said.