She told French radio station LCI: “I want to put France first. I want French companies to hire French people.
“I don’t want illegals to think that they will be looked after by the government and I don’t want legal immigrants to have more rights than the French. Playtime is over. If a foreigner is sick, he can take care of himself alone.”
She said she would not go as far as US president Donald Trump and impose strict travel restrictions on Muslim-majority countries, but she did say she would consider it.
She said: “I would not use Mr Trump’s immigration order as an example, no. But I would consider imposing a temporary ‘Muslim ban’ if I felt that national security was at stake, and to stop terrorists from stepping foot on French soil. But Mr Trump’s ban should not concern legal immigrants who live and work in the US. That’s just not fair.”
Illegal immigration, she said, is the main problem, adding: “We need to stop illegal immigration and do more to stem the flow of migrants and refugees pouring into France. We can’t accept everyone.”
The nationalist candidate reiterated her pledge to make French employers who hire foreigners pay a tax “worth 10 per cent of the salary paid to those people,” and said that the money would end up in the pockets of “unemployed French nationals”.
The far-right chief also commented on her rival François Fillon’s press conference yesterday, where he addressed revelations he paid his wife and children €1million in inappropriate payments, mostly funded by the taxpayer.
He apologised, but said their salaries were “justified”.
Mrs Le Pen said: “I am not asking Mr Fillon to bow out of the presidential race. It’s not my place to tell the Republicans what to do. I don’t understand anything Mr Fillon says. He apologised, but also insisted that his wife Penelope’s earnings were justified.”
Scandal-embroiled Mr Fillon’s approval ratings plummeted after the French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné revealed that he had paid his British wife, Penelope, hundreds of thousands of euros.
Mrs Le Pen, for her part, has benefited from the controversy and is now poised to waltz through the first round of voting.
According to a new OpinionWay poll of voting intentions published on Tuesday, Mrs Le Pen will win the first round of voting – which is set to be held in April – with 26 per cent of the votes.
Mr Fillon, for his part, would come in third place with 20 per cent of the votes, just behind former economy minister Emmanuel Macron, who would garner 23 per cent of the votes.