I know, a really delicate, nuanced title. But I felt about talking about immigration in France and didn’t want to sound too high-minded, because what do I really know about immigration in France, or the U.S.? I’ve definitely become more pro-immigrant since living in a foreign country and since my family moved to San Antonio, where they bring so much to the town. But I don’t have anything insightful about the bigger immigration policies of either country.
Mostly I just have some personal thoughts. Yesterday I posted about getting my new carte de séjour soon, and listed a few links about the new developments in immigration in France, thanks to Claude Guéant, the minister of the interior. Essentially, there are two things going on that I’ve been vaguely paying attention to:
1) Workers educated in France (that is, with a French university degree of some sort) have been recently refused permission to stay and work in non-fixed contracts. Apparently now it’s okay to work and be temporary, but not work and stay.
2) Marine le Pen wants to ban dual nationality, and Sarko has said he’d consider it, so it’s become something of a topic in the news, as a way to avoid talking about the eurozone crisis: an article in English, another in French.
I have very different feelings about both of these developments, even though they both may directly affect me in the coming years, that is, if this trend doesn’t turn around.
Number 1 (refusing the right to work to educated immigrants) doesn’t actually shock me all that much. I mean, yes, it scares me, I don’t want France to be like this, or the U.S. either, but I’ve always understood that France was under no obligation to accept me just because I come from a rich country and have a good education. Sure, I pay taxes, I obey the law, I love France. What right does that give me over someone who comes from a war-torn nation, or a poor nation where the quality of life is minimal, who comes here for a truly better life? Why not refuse us and accept them? I think we both have something to bring to the country, obviously, but I don’t feel like educated immigrants being targeted is really all that shocking in principle.
Number 2 (abolishing dual nationality) does shock me, very much. The discourse on this has been more or less, “If you come to France and want to adapt to life in France, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be ready to give up your home nationality. Your new country is France.” This is retarded. (And I reserve that word for things that are truly ridiculous.) First of all, all these people have to do is think of the French people who live in foreign countries, and ask themselves, do those people want to keep their French nationality on top of their new nationality? OF COURSE THEY DO. They seem to have blocked out that thought. There are actually French people who live elsewhere and have two nationalities. Like I said, dumb. (I know, you must be enjoying the delicacy of my writing here.) Second, as someone whose family is still at home, it would be truly stupid for me to decide to give up American nationality. How hard is it to imagine that someone would want to be able to go home without hassle if something were to happen to a loved one? I work with a Chinese woman at school who had to give up her Chinese nationality to become French, and now she needs a visa to go home. Third, while I understand why anyone would want to keep their home nationality, giving up American nationality would be truly stupid. I mean, I feel like on the list of stupid things to do, it’s not as bad as driving a nail into your head, but worse than accidentally burning your house down.
I love two countries, very much. Where’s the wrong in that?