PARIS, October 13 — The French government is on a racist anti-immigrant rampage. France’s gendarmerie — the national police force, organized along military lines — is on a war footing to hunt down undocumented immigrants.
Immigrants have been so terrorized that they’re jumping from windows to escape the police. On September 21, Mrs. Chulan Zhang Liu became the fifth immigrant worker in two months to die after leaping from a window.
Ivan, a 12-year-old Russian boy, was seriously injured in late August when he fell from a window during a police round-up in Amiens.
This terrorism has steadily increased over the past five years. On January 11, then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy crowed that, “We deported 24,000 illegal aliens in 2006, which represents an increase of 140% compared to 2002.” His target is deportation of 25,000 immigrant workers this year.
Anthropologist Emmanuel Terray compared the anti-immigrant round-ups to those of Jews in Nazi-occupied France. “Once they’ve decided they want to stop and question people who haven’t committed any particular crime, except that of being here, or else that of being a Jew in 1942,” said Terray, “they…look for them where they are; they set traps for them. You’ve got to know that, at the Belleville metro station, operations of this type take place practically every week. According to what the local people tell me, one week it’s the Chinese, another it’s the Arabs.”
On the police union website, cops have admitted that “the only people who are stopped in these operations are those who are likely to be illegal aliens because of the color of their skin.” (Le Monde, 9/25)
The French government estimates there are up to 400,000 undocumented immigrants in France. Most are workers, especially in construction and restaurants.
The rulers have become so barbaric that, for the first time in ten years, sick people are being deported to countries where they cannot get treatment. Last June, an immigrant worker suffering from hepatitis C was deported against a doctor’s orders.
The National Assembly and the Senate have just passed the Hortefeux law, imposing drastic conditions on family reunification. Under this law, anyone who wants to enter France under the family reunification procedure — including spouses of French citizens — must first pass a French language and “values” test. The legal resident or French citizen with whom they’re being re-united must have an annual income of at least $21,783.
The law also provides that family members from “countries where many documents are fakes” (code language for Africa) must submit to a DNA test to prove they’re related to the person here. People are mobilizing against this racist terror. Last year Marseilles primary-school teacher Florimond Guimard participated in an anti-deportation rally. He followed a police car hauling away a deportee. For that, he was charged with “group violence with an arm” (the “arm” being the car Guimard was driving). He risks three years in prison and a $64,000 fine.
The defense of Guimard has become the rallying cry of the anti-deportation movement. On October 20, there will be nation-wide anti-deportation rallies. But beyond fighting racist deportations, we must destroy the capitalist system that brands some workers as “undocumented immigrants.” That can only be accomplished through communist revolution.