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French minister: We judge foreigners for what they do not who they are

Gérald Darmanin said the government will seek to remove a rule preventing criminals from being expelled if they arrived in France before turning 13

Gérald Darmanin has said that a bill will be put forward in September seek to remove a rule preventing criminals from being expelled if they arrived in France before turning 13 Pic: Obatala-photography / Shutterstock

Foreign citizens who commit crimes in France will be subject to “a sort of double sentence”: punishment then expulsion, the interior minister has said. 

Read more: France looks to expel all foreigners committing ‘serious offences’

“This is a common sense policy; we judge foreigners for what they do, not who they are,” Gérald Darmanin said during an interview with BFMTV yesterday (July 26).

He added that the government has “decided to concentrate on foreigners committing crimes”, and has already withdrawn “70,000 titres de séjour” from people having broken the law.

Some 9,800 people in an “irregular” situation have been deported since January.

“France is generous and welcomes the foreigners who live on our soil with open arms. I do believe that no other country is so generous.

“Common sense dictates that you respect the rules of the Republic, or you leave.” 

Mr Darmanin said that he would prefer to “keep in France a foreigner who arrives illegally but who respects the laws of the Republic and who perhaps wants to integrate into society [...] rather than foreigners who have committed crimes. 

“When choosing who to expel, I would obviously prioritise those who commit crimes.” 

Mr Darmanin stated that a new bill will be presented in September proposing the removal of legal “reservations” which prevent foreign citizens from being expelled if they commit a crime if they arrived in the country before the age of 13.

However, he added that expulsions would only be sought “in the case of serious crimes”.

The anti-racist group SOS Racisme has claimed that Mr Darmanin’s proposals “align with the positions of the far right,” and has called for “an end to this downward spiral which is fit for Le Pen” or the Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, but not for the Republic.”

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