It isn’t nearly enough, but it’s a start. “Immigration restrictions OK’d in France,” by Elizabeth Bryant in the Washington Times (thanks to Ruth King):
PARIS “” The National Assembly approved tough new restrictions on immigration yesterday, completing a major step in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s program to roll up a famously well-trodden welcome mat.
The bill, which still needs Senate approval and a second vote in the Assembly, requires would-be immigrants for the first time to demonstrate a knowledge of the French language and cultural values.
Its most controversial clauses provide for voluntary DNA testing of applicants seeking to show they are related to current French residents, and legalize some data gathering based on race and ethnicity.
The bill is largely driven by a public perception that the flow of unskilled workers into France contributes to high unemployment and strains the nation’s social welfare system. Such fears were crystallized by weeks of riots in suburban areas populated mainly by Muslim and African immigrants in the fall of 2005.
“For many of our countrymen, immigration is a source of concern,” said Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux upon introducing the bill. “They see a threat to their security, their jobs, their lifestyle. We must understand the … hopes of this silent majority.”