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The Empire Strikes Back - French version

As both Ron and Casey were presenting today, their comments on the immigration issues facing Great Britain as its former colonial 'subjects' started arriving on British soil created parallels to the immigration issues that France has encountered over the past forty or so years. For many years after World War I, France had virtually no immigration policy or quotas. The loss of millions of men on the battlefields meant that there weren't enough left to 'go around', and the birth rate plummeted. So France opened its borders. After the Algerian conflict in the early 60s, many Algerians fled to France. They were already citizens, since Algeria was considered a départment (province) of France, rather than a colony. But now France was faced with new residents who were 'officially' French, but not culturally so. Long story short, though many of the immigrants either came to France already as citizens or became citizens, they were (and in many cases still are) marginalized in French society. We have all seen the pictures in recent months of the banlieues, the suburbs and the housing projects where many, many immigrant families live. The violence, both last fall and in recent weeks, is a frightening reminder about how stratified French society really is.