Friday, September 3, 2010

What Can France Teach Us About Botched Immigration Policies?

by David A. Bell

New Republic
September 3, 2010

On both sides of the Atlantic, it has been an uncomfortable summer for immigrant groups. Here in the United States there have been the quarrels over the "Ground Zero Mosque," “anchor babies,” and Arizona’s new illegal immigrant bill (not to mention yet more calls for the deportation of our “Muslim” president to his “native” Kenya by the surprisingly large proportion of the Republican Party that seems to have taken up permanent residence on Planet Zorg). Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, faced with removal from office by the voters in 2012, has continued to push legislation outlawing the wearing of the burqa in public and acted to expel several hundred Roma to Romania and Bulgaria. This last move in particular has earned him widespread criticism from the media, and widespread support from the French public.

Sarkozy’s actions and France’s continuing struggles with the immigration issue have gotten relatively little coverage in the United States. They are worth taking a closer look at, however, because they starkly illustrate many of the issues that arise from the world-wide movement of populations—issues that the United States will be confronting more and more over the coming decades.