France’s Constitutional Council Says Yes To DNA Tests, No To Ethnic Counting

France's Constitutional Council says yes to DNA tests, no to ethnic counting

The Associated Press
Published: November 15, 2007

PARIS: The body that rules on the constitutionality of French laws on Thursday threw out an article in the new immigration law that would have opened the way to collecting statistics on ethnic origins to ensure diversity. But it approved a controversial amendment allowing for DNA tests of immigrants' offspring.

The Constitutional Council ruled that DNA tests, voluntary and meant to ensure that family ties are authentic, must be limited to establishing a direct link with the mother. It warned against systematic use of DNA tests.

The amendment, sponsored by conservative lawmaker Thierry Mariani, became the focal point of heated debate over the immigration bill, which was aimed at curtailing the regrouping of families in France a main source of immigration and raising the proportion of France's immigrants who are skilled from 7 percent to 50 percent.

In September, President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed immigration quotas by regions of the world and by occupation.

The immigration bill was passed by lawmakers on Oct. 23, and will take effect once Sarkozy signs it and it is published in the official register expected sometime within the next few weeks.