In France, the new Sarkozy government has made cracking down on illegal immigration and employment of illegals, limiting immigration that is not for economic purposes, and deporting undocumented workers a priority. Concerning that last project, the government’s forsees the deportation of 25,000 undocumented foreigners in 2007.

However, it turns out that the people involved in the process of deportation- judges, police and lawyers – increasingly resent the pressures put on them to do so, and feel it adversely affects their overall mission in law enforcement and justice. Here’s some snippets of opinions printed in LeMonde from people working in these sectors:

From police on an anonymous forum:

“I ask myself what will happen when the day comes when our collegues, tired of being mobilised for identity controls 3 or 4 times a day, report to the press that on these operations they only control  individuals likely to be foreign and undocumented because of the color of their skin…And during that time, drug trafficking of all kinds in the housing estates, robberies…that we no longer even have the time to work on. A culture of getting results, yes, I accept that, but not at any price whatsoever!”

In some districts of Paris “more that 80% of those in police custody brought in for infractions of immigration laws…The magistrates on duty are also overwhelmed and sometimes ask us ironically if we’re still interested in stopping real delinquents.”

And on the judicial side as well, magistrates are complaining that “their jurisdictions are about to be suffocated by the *fight over immigrants”

One tribunal in Bordeaux has gone from seeing 100 immigration cases in 2001 to 600 in 2006. The president of that tribunal says that if they are to meet the assigned objectives for detentions, they would have to make decisions in 500 cases in 3 months, currently the amount they go through in 9 months. He added that this focus on the struggle over immigration ” would be to the detriment of other struggles.”

I think this highlights the problem of making these outrageous claims, like that you’re going to deport all the illegals, without addressing whether or not its actually possible. Reminds me of when in California they wanted to make public servants like teachers and nurses responsible for reporting any illegals in their schools or hospitals, and met with strong resistance because it hinders their ability to do their jobs. Here of course, immigration controls are part of these people’s jobs, it’s just a matter of skewed proportions.

*As usual, apologies for any crap translation, and if anyone can tell me a good way to translate “contentieux” I’d love to know it!