United Against a “Disposable” Immigration

We firmly condemn the new government bill amending the French Immigration and Asylum Code (CESEDA).

The bill would write into law an unacceptable denial of fundamental human rights. It radically curtails the residency rights of families, of couples, of children, and in fact of every foreigner trying live out his or her life on French soil. It diminishes radically the possibility of obtaining a « permanent » residency card, up to now a tool for « integration » in France. It undermines the right of gravely ill foreigners to receive in France treatment unavailable in their home countries.

If this bill is adopted, it will become almost hopeless for French and foreigners to fall and live in love, to be together as a family or to have children. The prospect of someday legalizing the foreigner’s situation will have become a pipe dream, given the number and severity of the hurdles the bill imposes.

The bill is in fact rooted in a reductive, utilitarian view of immigration. The government openly proclaims its intention to plunder foreign « talent » wherever it finds it. The only foreigners welcome in France will, in fact, be those whose presence is profitable for the economy. As for the others, whatever their personal or family situation, their legalization will become virtually impossible. The bill even creates a new type of foreign worker whose legal residency in France depends entirely on his or her employer’s goodwill. Undocumented foreigners who have resided in France for ten years or more will no longer be able to obtain a temporary residence card, depriving them of all hope of legalization, no matter how long they stay. The bill also establishes a much more restrictive system for selecting foreign youth hoping to pursue their studies in France.

Foreigners residing legally in France will henceforth meet with even greater difficulties in bringing their families to live with them. The bill toughens significantly all the conditions imposed on their unquestionable right to lived with their loved ones (they must henceforth establish that they have a substantial income, and are comfortably housed, and the local mayor must certify the proper « integration » of the family in France …). The bill even casts systematic doubt on foreign men’s paternity, whenever a child’s mother is French.

If this bill is adopted as it stands, foreigners, to obtain and hold onto a residency permit, will have to be « well integrated », happily married, approved by their mayor, beloved of their employer, well-paid and comfortably lodged.

It is clear, furthermore, that forthcoming changes in asylum law are also going to curtail refugees’ rights. It is therefore no exaggeration to say that all the rights of foreigners in France are now greatly endangered. Each of us has the imperative duty to protest against what is being done. By stigmatizing foreigners, this government sets us against one another, and tramples on the fundamental rights of everyone in France.

We call for a general mobilization against the CESEDA amendments. The proposed bill, if adopted, will reduce foreigners, documented or undocumented, to the state of second-class human beings, deprived of their rights, living in France at the simple pleasure of their employer, the bureaucracy and the government.

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