Friday, 20 March 2009

Jumped up justice

I went for a little manifest yesterday because I am more than a little peed off with the French government this week.

We returned from holiday to discover that the mother of one of La Fille's classmates has been threatened with expulsion from France at the end of the month. She has done nothing wrong but her "carte de séjour" (permission to stay) is not being renewed. The letter informing her that she has until the end of the month to leave the country came as something of a shock as she has lived and worked legally in France for ten years.

It counts for nothing, it seems, that she has her own fashion business on which she stumps up the required taxes and charges and a small shop on which she pays rent, or that she speaks French or that her daughter who she is bringing up alone was born in France, has never lived anywhere else than France and started at a French school last September.

I am not quite sure what more this now anxious and terrified poor woman has to do to fulfil the requirements of "integration" into French society and neither is she. I suspect there is actually nothing she can do because it's not personal but political. Last year the French government expelled a record 29,796 "illegal immigrants". Brice Hortefeux the then immigration minister declared he was "very proud" of this. For 2009 the target is 26,000: this young mum is a number, nothing more. And because she is not what they call a "clandestine" but has been in France legally, worked legally, paid her taxes, schooled her child she is on the administration's books and consequently easy to find and shove on a plane back to a country she no longer calls home and that was never home to her child. And this in France, which never fails to remind the world that it is the cradle of human rights.

But this is France and nothing is ever quite as simple as it seems. Off I went to manifest. My friends and fellow journalists and I stood on the corner of the street with our banner waiting to join the march at the appropriate moment. We let half a dozen groups go by, we let the teachers go by, we let a small lorry blasting out the Italian anti-fascist song Bella Ciao go by then, because we had waited an hour and the banner was heavy, we decided to join the fray...and promptly broke the unwritten rules of street marching etiquette. So much for solidarity. All I can say is if you are ever tempted to join a French march, make sure you ask permission first. "You can't march here," said one placard waver sniffily. "Go somewhere else. You're pushing in."

Bloody hell. Would you credit it. Pushing in...hmmm, I'll remember that next time I see a French queue.

13 comments:

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Well done for marching in support of that poor woman threatened with such unfair deportation. I couldn't help but laugh at the marching etiquette, however. I have never heard of that before!

Do you think you will stand any chance of getting her deportation quashed, or is it now a fait accompli?

Dumdad said...

That's a shocking situation for that poor mother. Surely her daughter is French and therefore can stay in the country and so needs her mother to stay as well?

Anonymous said...

Who says it is good to live in France. Love to have seen your face when told to push off, how did you stop yourself hitting them with your banner.
supergran

pinklea said...

So the French government can deport people who have done everything legally to make a life for themselves in their country, while my Canadian government can't seem to manage to deport new immigrants who have been legally convicted of serious crimes committed in Canada??? There's got to be some middle ground. Good luck to that young woman - I hope something can be done to help her.

Not Waving but Drowning said...

Outragous! well done for supporting her. I wish I'd been there!

GG

Henry the Dog's Mum said...

I'm quite stunned. Surely, as Dumdad rightly points out, the daughter is French. How on earth can they eject her?

Mike said...

More power to your arm!

Cimon said...

@dumdad

When Mr Sarkozy was home affairs minister (is it the way you call the Ministre de l'intérieur et des cultes ?), he removed the code civil article that say you are French when you are born in France. Now it is blood law, not soil law (articles 21-7 to 21-11).

Laura Jane Williams said...

That is unbelievable! How awful for your friend. I wondered the same thing as dumdad...?

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Well done. I worry for this country too when I hear regularly very vitriolic comments aimed at immigrants, often from so called christians.

Parisgirl said...

WONI, We're waiting for the Tribunal to decide. Her lawyer is "optimistic".
Dumdad and Henry and Laura, I thought that too but apparently not, or no longer.
Supergran, it was hard!
Pinklea and NWBD and Mike, thanks for your interest.
Cimon, Merci pour les précisions.
Ken, you're right; it's worrying wherever it happens.

Cimon said...

Just discovered some parts of the civil codes are officially translated to English.

So here they are : art. 21-7 to 21-11.

Seems like our President is innocent, as the act dates back from 98. Will check this...

Parisgirl said...

I forgot to say, the problem is even if we establish the child has a right to stay, that does not help if her mother, her sole carer, is ordered to leave the country.