President Sarkozy has set a quota- not for incoming migrants, but for his police department. He wants the police to deport AT LEAST 25,000 immigrants.
Sound familiar? While here in the US churches take the lead in the New Sanctuary Movement to protect immigrants from unjust laws and deportation, it is common citizens in paris and other cities that have joined the “resistance” and have begun giving immigrants sanctuary in their very homes.
Unlike us, the French have a amassed a cultural and social understanding of what it means to be at war on one’s own ground. In war, it isn’t simply the government that acts, but it is individuals- that were a part of the original resistance in World War 2- that made the true difference on the ground [reference: Vichy]. While the “official” French government was folding over and capitulating an effective network of citizens, and individuals, along with government resistors fought back.
For all we may not like about the French (and I get an earful about it, about once a week)- the spirit of citizenship and action is alive and admirable- and draws the question– are we doing enough:
The Guardian – Oct 3, 2007
Immigration crackdown in France
The French government aims to deport 25,000 illegal immigrants by the
end of the year. But the police snatch squads aren’t having it all
their own way. A new ‘resistance’ has sprung up, inspired by memories
of wartime deportations and shame at the way France treats its ethnic
by Angelique Chrisafis
Like most illegal immigrants working in Paris’s textile sweat shops,
nail bars or restaurants, Chulan Liu kept her head down. A 51-year-old
divorcee who left her only son in northern China this summer, she spoke
no French. But she knew the name Nicolas Sarkozy and his order for
police to round up thousands of France’s “sans papiers” – immigrants
with no papers and no right to stay.
When, a fortnight ago, officers knocked at the Paris flat Liu shared
with four Chinese sans papiers, she panicked. She leaped from a window
and hung from an awning by her fingertips, like a scene from a bad
Hollywood film. She hit the pavement awkwardly and died.
Ivan Demsky, 12, was a popular pupil at his French secondary school,
but his Chechen and Russian parents were failed asylum seekers. When
police came to their flat in the northern town of Amiens in August,
Ivan followed his father in escaping via the balcony. He fell four
floors to the street below and into a coma. He has regained
consciousness but is still being treated by doctors. The faces of Liu
and “le petit Ivan” have been broadcast all over France in recent days
and displayed at demonstrations against what the left call France’s
“foreigner-hunt”. Continue reading