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Sarkozy immigration plan thrown out by French senate

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to strip certain foreign-born criminals of their French nationality has been thrown out by politicians – with one likening it to the Vichy regime in France that collaborated with the Nazis.

The proposal intended to deny nationality to people naturalised as French citizens for less than 10 years who uses violence against police or public officials. It had been approved by the National Assembly last year.

But members of France’s upper house of parliament, the Senate, rejected the law on Thursday night by 182 votes to 156.

Nathalie Goulet, a centrist senator said during the debate: “It was the Vichy regime of occupied France which invented denaturalisation.”

She told how members of her own family was stripped of its nationality in 1941 before being sent to Auschwitz.

David Assouline, a Socialist said: “The National Front party has made proposals for a similar law, which would create two categories of French citizens.”

The rejection of the law was later hailed as a “victory over inhumanity” by French immigrants’ rights groups.

President Nicolas Sarkozy called for the law in the wake of a crackdown on Roma gipsies last summer widely seen as an attempt to woo far-Right voters amid record low approval ratings.

A revised draft of the Immigration, Integration and Nationality Law will be written and presented to MPs later this year.


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