[JURIST] French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy [BBC profile] said Monday that he supports changing a proposed immigration bill [text; legislative materials] now under debate [session transcript] in the French Senate to allow some children of illegal immigrants currently attending French schools to remain in the country. According to administration officials, as many as 800 residency permits will be made available on a case-by-case basis to families with children in French schools who have few linguistic or social connections to their parents' home countries. However, critics of the bill say that while the changes proposed by Sarkozy are positive, as many as 100,000 immigrant families with children attending French schools may still face deportation [Mrap press release, in French].
The French National Assembly passed a conservative immigration bill [JURIST report] in May that tightens restrictions on unskilled, non-EU immigrants and requires immigrants to sign a pledge to learn French and to abide by French law. The version passed by the National Assembly would allow the expulsion of children with no ties to their parents' home countries, prompting advocacy groups to pressure government to ease those provisions. BBC News has more. Le Monde has local coverage, in French.