When I moved to France 12 years ago, it was like arriving in an unfriendly paradise. Sure, hardly anyone spoke to me. But there was national paid maternity leave and free preschool. Practically everyone seemed to agree on the need for strict gun laws, and access to birth control and abortion. Not only did the whole country have health insurance; most undocumented immigrants could get medical and dental care free.
[…] The French believe “they have a duty to think not just for themselves but also for the rest of the world,”
[…In 1970’s…] France took in nearly 130,000 “boat people” from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. That influx, and others like it, have helped make France a nation of immigrants. Nearly a quarter of the population has at least one foreign-born grandparent.
I assumed that France would be welcoming.
It wasn’t. President François Hollande said in September that France would take in an additional 24,000 refugees over the next two years. In a national poll afterward, 70 percent of respondents said 24,000 was “sufficient” or “very sufficient,” and half said they would refuse to accept refugees in their own city.
Où est passé notre France ? Que sommes-nous devenus ? Nous nous sommes perdus, ou est-ce moi qui appartient au passé ?