Large Number of Immigrants Expelled from France

It is no surprise that to the run-up to the national elections in France, Sarkozy’s Socialist party is attempting to obtain support from anti-immigrant voters, who may otherwise choose Marie La Penn, the antagonist who visited Lampedusa in early 2011 to show her solidarity with Italian authorities.

“Record number of immigrants expelled from France last year, Sarkozy’s government boasts,” for the Washington Post:

President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government has made a play for the anti-immigrant voters who may determine whether he wins a second term, saying Tuesday that France had booted out more illegal migrants in the past year than ever before.

Sarkozy’s interior minister added that he wants thousands more expelled this year, along with fewer foreigners legally living in France. Anyone who wants to stay, he added, must shed the traditions that contradict French values.

The conservative president is unpopular and facing a tough challenge from the left and the resurgent far right in presidential elections to be held in April and May in an increasingly diverse France. Sarkozy hasn’t formally declared his candidacy but is widely expected to run.

Interior Minister Claude Gueant lauded the government’s record, saying French authorities expelled 32,912 illegal immigrants in 2011, up 17.5 percent from 2010.

“This result is 5,000 higher than the initial objective decided upon at the start of the year. It is the highest result ever achieved,” he said. The government wants the figure to rise to 35,000 this year, he added…

Le Pen has a strong voter base, and her National Front party has targeted immigrants and Muslims for its ire.

Anti-racism group SOS Racisme called the figures released Tuesday “numbers of shame.”…

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