Sarkozy Wants EU Members To Work Together On Illegal Immigration

Sarkozy wants EU members to work together on illegal immigration

The Associated Press
Published: July 9, 2007

PARIS: President Nicolas Sarkozy charged France's new immigration ministry with working toward an EU pact that would include refusing to legalize clandestine immigrants en masse, according to a mission statement released Monday.

Sarkozy laid out his goals on immigration in what amounts to a job description for Brice Hortefeux, in charge of the Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Co-Development, created after Sarkozy took office May 16.

Among the new minister's objectives was ensuring that immigration for economic reasons accounts for 50 percent of immigrants entering France and cutting down on the practice of allowing family members to join relatives installed legally in France. A bill to be debated in parliament in September toughens criteria for so-called “family regrouping,” notably with tests before arrival of the French language and values.

Of 185,000 residence permits delivered in 2005, only 7 percent concerned economic immigration, that is those who come here for work reasons, while half were here as part of the family regrouping scheme.

Sarkozy asked that France look to Canada and Britain where criteria, including geographic, are used.

France should accept foreigners “to whom it can give work, who need to train in France or who answer its economic needs,” Sarkozy said in his mission letter to Hortefeux.

The president also envisioned tighter cooperation with the European Union over immigration, including a single procedure for political asylum, creating a single consular network for delivering visas and generalization of biometric visas, as well as a “veritable European frontier police,” said the orders to Hortefeux.

A European immigration pact would include commitments to ban massive legalization of illegal aliens or on expelling clandestine immigrants.

The new ministry has been criticized by human rights groups, mainly because it combines immigration and the notion of national identity.

Sarkozy made a campaign promise to reduce illegal immigration, and said he wanted to tailor the profile of new arrivals.

In a similar mission letter to the head of the High Commission for Active Solidarity, another new post, Sarkozy said poverty must be reduced “by at least a third” in five years, the end of his mandate. Martin Hirsch, head of the commission, formerly ran Emmaus, the international organization to help the poor.