Europe tightens immigration rules
France expected to pass DNA testing law for new immigrant families. In Switzerland, a conservative party wants to cast out 'black sheep.'
The ever-richer mix of migrant populations in Europe is a source of contention and part of larger, testier debates about the future of Europe. In France, the final language was settled upon Tuesday in a new law that includes DNA tests for immigrants wanting to bring family members here. Next door in Switzerland, voters are courted with an image of three white sheep kicking out a black sheep – a logo of the powerful right-wing Swiss People's Party, ahead of the Oct. 21 national elections.
Race and migration policy changes are mostly conducted in Europe with polite decorum, not street riots. Europeans largely advocate tolerance and multicultural values. Even many immigrants say they understand the apprehension felt by traditional white populations over their rising numbers. But from Copenhagen to Vienna, restrictions targeted at Africans and Arab Muslims are coming, experts say.
In Paris, the new immigration law, now ready for the French Assembly, will require language tests and behavior guarantees by parents for children. The law, which includes a DNA test for mothers and kids, is backed by 56 percent of French, according to a Le Figaro poll, and is expected to be swiftly passed.
Yet immigration issues remain divisive even within the center-right government of Nicolas Sarkozy.
In the midst of the current DNA discussion, a new museum in Paris's 12th district, dedicated to immigrant achievements, quietly opened. Too quietly, say critics. While the mayor of Paris, Betrand Delanoë, and the head of the Socialist Party, François Hollande, attended, Mr. Sarkozy, himself from an immigrant family, was not present. "Sarkozy shows up everywhere in France and the world, but not here," said one museum official.
Sorbonne historian Patrick Weil resigned from the museum advisory panel over the direction of Sarkozy's race politics, including the creation of a new Ministry of Immigration and National Identity. He says the new president is alienating the 25 percent of French who come from nontraditional backgrounds.