The French-American Foundation Weekly Brief
Le Monde reported that the French government wanted to expand the criteria under which illegal Roma can be sent out of the country, notably in cases of “disturbance to public order.” Immigration Minister Eric Besson also announced the impending implementation of a database that will gather the fingerprints of those receiving government money to leave France so as to diminish the number who make multiple trips in and out to collect multiple payments. The Washington Post described the air of controversy swirling around the Roma policy, which has drawn criticism from the UN and the Pope. Meanwhile, Le Télégramme followed a family of Roma living in Rennes as they prepared their children for their first day of school.
Le Figaro reported that four American police officers started new posts at Charles de Gaulle airport, where they will check passenger lists for departing flights headed for the US. They will alert airlines if passengers are deemed to pose security risks or are prohibited from entering the US, but only the French police will have the authority to arrest or prohibit them from flying. BusinessWeek said that US officers have been placed in airports at seven other countries as well, part of an expanded immigration program in response to the attempted terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound plane last Christmas. The accord signed between US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and French Minister of Immigration Eric Besson included a provision allowing French officers in American airports as well, although Le Parisien reported that this was not presently under consideration.
French fast-food giant Quick extended its halal-only service to 14 new restaurants in France on Wednesday, September 1st, Le Point reported. The additional outlets raise the number of the company’s halal establishments to 22, of which 10 are in the Ile-de-France region. Jacques-Édouard Charret, Quick’s president, said that sales doubled in the eight restaurants the company initially tested for its halal service. While various politicians have opposed Quick’s decision to respect Islamic dietary laws in its restaurants, claiming it forces halal food on non-Muslims, the AP reported that the Paris Mosque also criticized the decision, arguing that the operation was “meaningless” because the company had not also had its non-meat ingredients certified as halal.
Challenges published the results of a survey it conducted, showing that French people remain overwhelmingly committed to public education, with 97 percent of those polled calling free and mandatory public education a “fundamental value of the republic.” On the other hand, 65 percent said they were amenable to paying for their children’s education. According to La Depeche, while the Challenges poll indicated that 40 percent of those surveyed had more confidence in private schools than in public schools, a separate, “contradictory” survey put that number at just 22 percent. In another poll on school security, L’Express reported that 93 percent of parents supported additional school monitors and 74 percent would like police to patrol outside of schools, while only 25 percent favors having police officers patrol inside schools.
Ouest-France reported that a movie about Nicolas Sarkozy’s ascension to power (called “La Conquête” or “The Conquest”) was filming in Paris, with Denis Podalydès set to play the French president. Podalydès described the project as a “film about the conquest of power in our mediatized democracies.” The movie, which is set to film until the beginning of October, will cover Sarkozy’s rise from Interior Minister in 2002 to his election as president of France in 2007. The Independent predicted that Sarkozy would not be thrilled by the casting of Podalydès (who is known for playing softer-edged characters like Jean-Paul Sartre and Richard II), nor by the film’s 2011 release date, which is “uncomfortably close to his bid for re-election.”
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