In the past few years, the immigration debate in France has become more and more impassioned. A new ministry name, “selective immigration”, plans for new laws, changes in the Nationality Code and debates about deportation are the media’s daily bread. However, in France, this debate can’t be separated from the particular experiences of the several previous waves of immigration (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, African) and especially of the North African immigration. Arab people, Islam and French suburbs are nowadays unavoidable topics in the immigration debate.
And as usual, you will never hear of the positive aspects (e.g. cases of successful integration), only of the problems that fuel the debate and grab attention. Very recently, for example, the controversy regarding the ticket given to a French Arab woman driver wearing a burqa led to a new project to revise the Nationality Code to remove the French nationality of her husband (acquired by marriage) who is suspected of polygamy and social benefits fraud. The extreme-right parties happily jump on these kinds of stories to demand the strengthening of laws against immigration.
Let’s try to rebalance the debate... What is the reality of the North African immigrants and their ”heirs” (as the European Union sometimes refers to them) in France today?
Continue reading "France and the "Heirs" of North African Immigration"