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Conservative French Official Calls for a Halt in Immigration

June 02, 1993| Associated Press

PARIS — France's conservative interior minister said in an interview published Tuesday that his country should halt immigration.

"Zero immigration is naturally impossible because our economy can require certain categories of foreigners," Charles Pasqua told the newspaper Le Monde. "But that must be the tendency."

With its troubled economy, "our country can't continue to be a kind of paradise or oasis in which others want to live," he said.

Pasqua will present his proposed immigration law to the Cabinet today. His plan seeks to restrict the number of people who may join relatives in France and step up identity checks, among other measures.

The Cabinet and National Assembly, both dominated by conservatives, almost certainly will approve the measures.

Africans and Arabs from former French colonies have faced attack, harassment and discrimination in France, where the extreme right blames immigrants for unemployment.

Despite his tough stance, Pasqua has condemned the violence against foreigners.

The "only way" legal immigrants "can live in peace (is) to combat clandestine immigration," Pasqua said.

France's population of 56 million includes 4.5 million legal immigrants, with Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisians making up the largest proportion. Officials estimate up to 1 million people live in France illegally.

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