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French Law on Immigration Is to Be Rewritten

August 15, 1993| From Reuters

PARIS — France's Constitutional Council on Saturday rejected key provisions of a controversial hard-line law to curb immigration and told the conservative government to rewrite them.

The council's ruling, released to the press, censured eight of the law's 52 articles, saying they deprived foreigners of basic rights guaranteed to anyone living on French territory.

There was no immediate reaction from the government. The ruling by the council, which checks that laws conform to the constitution, will force it to review the censured articles.

The law, pushed through Parliament last month, is a crucial part of Interior Minister Charles Pasqua's plans to move toward what he has called "zero immigration."

France has 57.5 million inhabitants, including an estimated 300,000 to 1 million illegal immigrants, in addition to about 4 million legal foreign residents.

Among the measures the council declared illegal were:

* The right of a town mayor to ask a state prosecutor to delay or ban a marriage between a French citizen and a foreigner when it is suspected of being a marriage of convenience so that one partner can acquire French citizenship.

* A provision banning foreign students from bringing their spouses and children to France.

* The right to detain for three months foreigners who cannot be deported because they have no identity documents and decline to disclose their nationality.

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