France protesters rally against strict immigration proposal

[JURIST] Over 10,000 pro-immigrant protesters marched through Paris on Saturday to demonstrate against a proposed immigration bill [JURIST report; legislative materials] that would effectively allow border officials to choose who will be admitted into the country. Specifically, the bill creates a "competence and talent" card that would identify "assets for the development and influence of France" possessed by the cardholder. The bill, supported by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy [official website, English version; BBC profile], would grant three-year working papers for highly qualified immigrants, make it more difficult to obtain residency by marriage, and would eliminate the automatic granting of long-term resident permits to immigrants who live in France for 10 years.

A first reading of the proposed legislation [JURIST document] is scheduled for next week. Critics of the bill [JURIST report], including the Catholic and Protestant churches of France, human rights groups and labor leaders, say the legislation would hurt French immigrants, as well as France's reputation of accepting foreigners. AP has more. Le Monde has local coverage.

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