Immigration and the 2007 French Elections
This report examines the political context surrounding the 2007 French presidential election as it relates to immigration. It provides an overview of the state of immigration in France and highlights notable demographic trends since 2000.
Data presented in the report reveal an upsurge of permanent migration flows to France in the first half of the decade; numbers further illustrate that this growth is largely attributable to burgeoning family migration stream figures—a result of the large-scale regularization initiatives of the late 1990s, which extended legal status to certain family- and humanitarian-based migrants. While temporary flow levels during the same period show greater variance, student and refugee streams consistently channeled the greatest share of temporary migrants into France.
The second half of the report tackles how the contest between center-right l’Union pour le Mouvement Populaire (UMP) candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and center-left Parti Socialiste (PS) candidate Ségolène Royal—and its outcome—will likely impact the country’s future immigration and integration agenda. Based on Sarkozy’s track record as Interior Minister of France, the author predicts the UMP candidate will continue to advance provisions that open France to high-skilled immigration, stem illegal immigration, restrict family migration, and promote integration into French society. Sarkozy’s stance will likely balance tougher enforcement measures targeting unauthorized immigrants on one hand, and efforts to address the socioeconomic challenges of disadvantaged immigrant groups on the other. The author anticipates Royal will take a more moderate stance on immigration and direct her policy focus toward expanding regularization efforts and championing bilateral or multi-national development initiatives.