France says tough immigration policies are workingInterestingly, Sarkozy has actually given the French immigration department a quota of expulsions to meet—in America, quotas like that are more likely to be applied to incoming legal immigrants, or grants of citizenship.
By Gerard Bon Reuters.com PARIS, June 19 (Reuters) - Tougher immigration policies launched in President Nicolas Sarkozy's first year in office are working, with more illegal migrants expelled and more skilled workers let in, France's immigration minister said on Thursday.
France has said harmonising immigration policies at EU level was one of its priorities for its six-month presidency of the bloc that starts on July 1, and the ruling UMP party said the data released on Thursday should help it persuade EU partners.
"The UMP would like to see our country's firm and just policies become the policies of the whole of Europe on the occasion of the French presidency," the party said after Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux's statement.
Hortefeux said 14,660 illegal migrants were expelled from France in the first five months of the year, up 80 percent compared with the same period in 2007.
In the 12 months to May 2008, Sarkozy's first year in office, almost 30,000 illegal migrants were expelled, up 31 percent year-on-year, Hortefeux said.
"Never have so many clandestine immigrants been taken back to their own countries in a year," Hortefeux told a news conference at his ministry in Paris.
The number of illegal migrants in France, estimated between 200,000 and 400,000, is decreasing, he said.[More]
Also, the number of illegals seems fairly low—I assume all the alienated youths burning cars in Paris were either legal immigrants, or alienated second- and third-generation inhabitants of France.