France hits illegal immigration head on

Go figure. France!

Read the story from Al Jazeera. (Yes, Al Jazeera.)

Some 600 Roma have been repatriated to Romania and Bulgaria since the crackdown was announced in July, while more than 8,000 have been deported since the beginning of the year.

France has also called on the European Commission to force Romania to stem the flow of Roma leaving the country, suggesting it could block Bucharest’s entry to the Schengen border-free zone if it fails to do so.


  1. Cindy you do know that our word for Roma is Gypsies? A larger percentage of gypsies were exterminated during WW-2 than Jews in France. Maybe I’m just not getting your post?

  2. Maybe you don’t. The point is undocumented immigration, not extermination. You’d be wrong to assert otherwise.

  3. The Lorax says:

    Perhaps Bill was trying to get to the nuance of the situation that isn’t analogous to our illegal immigration issues, or just plain black-and-white illegal immigration.

    There has been a history of persecution of these peoples, whose unique migrant culture has put them in an awkward position among sedentary cultures.

    Illegal Immigration is always an issue, but since their origin is an EU nation, they do have the right to move about. I’m not an expert, but as someone with Roma heritage, the potential for abuse and people’s generally unfavorable reactions to this group has me worried.

  4. So you should let them move in wherever they want or it will hurt their feelings?

    We all have a right, as you put it, to move about, but every country, even EU countries, maintain their own citizenship.

    It’s like you don’t know how to view the world without race-tinged glasses. Sometimes everyone needs to be treated equally. Period.


    for the record the extermination of certain classes of people is well documented in world history. it is the classic blame game that is still played, even here.

  6. The Lorax says:

    Well first, it’s not a race, it’s an ethnic group, and I was referring to their way of life and not their ethnicity.

    It’s funny you say that because you often bring up a racial angle I haven’t considered!

    The problem is that these people aren’t being treated equally.

  7. Why not? I do not understand your argument. They are not legally documented to live in France, so France ships them out.

    Can you explain how that’s not fair?

  8. The Lorax says:

    Well, you won’t find an expert in me. But from what I understand, that one of the four rights of EU membership is the free movement of people.

    There was a treaty that even guarantees rights for non-economically-active citizens to cross borders and reside in other nations within the EU, the Maastricht Treaty.

    What I didn’t realize is that Romania isn’t part of the Schengen Area, but presumably some of the Roma are from nations that are. Czechoslovakia in particular comes to mind.

    Some of the controversy has to do with France also being against Romanian integration into the EU, which moves beyond the particular incident of deportations. A lot of French people feel that the huge upheavels being caused by the huge influx of immigrants (North Africans, Eastern Europeans, and Vietnamese especially) to be detrimental to their lifestyle. Same is true in the US.

    Again, i’m not a legal expert–but it seems the French are coming down particularly hard on the Roma when there are plenty of people who aren’t Roma who they could be shipping back home–but aren’t.

    There are a lot of good arguments for relaxing and restricting rules on immigration, and i’m not ready to condemn the French. But it’s a touchy issue, and with a history of being marginalized, I think with this issue, it’s only appropriate to raise red flags.

  9. Randy in Richmond says:

    Could you fill me in on who we have exterminated lately ?

  10. Call France and argue your case. To me, the average lay person, France is defending the right to manage illegal residences. You assume these people are from another EU country, but it may be they carry no documents and that can not be verified. I find it challenging that France would spend this kind of money to simply treat a group unfairly. Why do you assume they would?

  11. Randy, I don’t think Dick indicated “we” but rather that it happens and we don’t exactly explain it well. Darfur comes to mind as a recent example. Humans are territorial. It’s not one of our more endearing traits, but it can’t be denied, either.

  12. The Lorax says:

    Call France? I should probably take a class on European Politics or something. It’s an ongoing interest of mine and obviously reading Wikipedia pages isn’t cutting it.

    I assume they are from an EU country because that’s really the best guess, no? I’m not on a witch hunt! And most of the Roma really don’t roam outside of EU countries, anyhow, though their historical roots lie farther east.

    I read about New York and Hawaii forcing homeless on to airplanes to get them out of their cities. People do a lot of stupid things and waste a lot of money to get rid of undesirables.

    Your passion about mental health advocacy could be carried over to this issue–these people are easily maligned and abused–and i’m advocating a gentler approach is all.

  13. Dear Lorax,

    You know we’ve been friends for a long time, but sometimes it makes me nuts. On the one hand, you can argue with such detail, and then on the other, you can say things like “I assume” and “I read about” and then switch from immigration to mental health and it all leaves me shaking my head.

    Buck up! young man. You know even before you enter the debate your statements are likely to be challenged. If you aren’t able to complete the task, I’ll understand completely. Simply declare an “in my opinion” statement and walk away. Just let me know ahead of time, okay?

  14. Randy in Richmond says:

    He says, “even here”. ????

  15. The “blame game” happens even here. That’s what I read anyway. And I’d agree. We aren’t great about nipping this stuff in the bud. Look at Serbia and Darfur. Those are two I remember where we certainly didn’t rise to the occasion.

  16. The Lorax says:

    That’s just me being mercurial 😀

  17. DICK STEINBERG says:

    thanx cindy. we /us/they are not above blaming other ethnic/race/religious groups for our own misgivings and/or political opportunities. who are the blamed? native american indians; various religious groups (mormons), etc. no my friend, we are not set on exterminating lives, but instead, ideas, beliefs and traditions. to extend the reply of cindy, our GREAT nation would do better to make friends rather than to create enemies.