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Society

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: http://www.humanite.fr/journal/2007...

by Émilie Rive

Combatting the “Slave Trade of the Third Millennium”: Sarkosy’s Immigration Policy Under Attack

Translated Saturday 31 March 2007, by Carol Gullidge

The policy on immigration proposed by France’s interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, has been blamed for rising tension in the run-up to the presidential election. Scrapping social benefits for foreigners allows employers to reap the benefits of a foreign labour force without the inconvenience of having to pay anything out: the policy welcomes only those foreigners who will contribute a net profit to the economy.

● Only the qualified get "skills and talents" residency permit

● Foreigners only allowed in to work, not live off benefits

● Foreign spouses to wait longer for residence cards

● Migrants must agree to learn French

● Migrants must sign ’contract’ respecting French way of life

● Scraps law on workers getting citizenship after 10 years

Immigration.

Taking a radical standpoint, the Collectif Uni(e)s contre une immigration jetable (CUIJ) (United Against a Disposable Immigration) has entered the electoral campaign.

The rooms that had been provided in the Censier university for the workshops for the symposium entitled “Immigration: what’s the problem?” were too small to hold the participants invited by the CUIJ on Saturday morning. They had to emigrate to the lecture halls. Immigration is neither a “problem” nor a “threat to national identity”, maintained the signatories to the common declaration that was made public at the end of the symposium. Armed with over 100,000 signatures against the “chosen-versus-unchosen immigration” policy and an 800-strong membership, the collective wants to make their voices heard in the torrent of misinformation that floods the daily news. These specialists have drawn up a “counter report” in response to all those published by the legislature in the last four years aimed at passing repressive laws. It is available at contreimmigrationjetable. org.

But, on Saturday, it was time for a reality check. An analysis of the policies of “not elected, therefore illegal” international institutions from the World Trade Association to the International Monetary Fund, which, with the collaboration of African leaders, are organizing a “new colonial order”, [says] Jean-Claude Amara from the French action group Droits devant!!, decrying the “slave trade of the third millennium”. In this way, explain the participants, the pillage of the South leads to deregulation of social benefits in the North, with the worldwide spread of insecurity of the labour market. No matter how much the interior minister accelerates the expulsion of sans-papiers, or unregistered immigrants, French employers still have an inexhaustible workforce who can be exploited at will.

The evidence of Raymond Chauvaeu, sercretary of the Massy branch of the French trade union, the CGT, was here to prove it. As was the labour inspector, Jérome Beuzelin, who explained how employers have at their disposal a whole arsenal of means of importing manpower en masse in a “second illegal slave trade”, which is used by sectors “under pressure”: naval depots, the public buildings and works sector, the food industry, caretaking, small businesses, agriculture, and care assistance. Or how the sans-papiers help social organizations amass contributions without having to pay anything out for them. In these circumstances, public opinion has it that hounding the sans-papiers - as civil servants are currently asked to do - is nothing but hogwash.

The evening ended with a march of several hundred people from Censier to the Saint-Ambroise church, symbolizing the eleventh anniversary of its occupation by families from Mali. An action that had marked the emerging of the sans-papiers from the shadows.


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