Amnesty deadline looms for immigrant families

10th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 10, 2006 (AFP) - Hundreds of illegal immigrants with children in French schools were rushing to meet a Friday deadline to apply for residency papers, as rights groups called for the date to be pushed back by a month.

PARIS, Aug 10, 2006 (AFP) - Hundreds of illegal immigrants with children in French schools were rushing to meet a Friday deadline to apply for residency papers, as rights groups called for the date to be pushed back by a month.

Campaigners — who are asking the government to grant a blanket amnesty to such families, rather than on a case by case basis — filed a bulk application on behalf of hundreds of people in Paris on Thursday.

On Wednesday the interior ministry said it had received 24,000 applications and that it expected to deliver some 5,000 to 6,000 residency permits.

Friday is the last chance for families to withdraw an application form, since the cut-off date of August 13 falls on a Sunday, although there is no deadline for submitting the completed documents.

The Education Without Borders Network (RESF) has called for the date to be moved to September 13, saying many eligible families had not yet been informed of their right to apply.

Following a major grassroots campaign, led by RESF and backed by left-wing politicians and hundreds of parents and schoolteachers, the government agreed to give residency rights to certain illegal immigrants with children in school.

To qualify, at least one child must have been born in France or have arrived before the age of 13, he or she must have been at school in France for two years, or have no link with their country of origin.

Many of the families face deportation under a recent tightening of French immigration policy. Rights groups say most of the children involved are well-integrated and thriving in the French system and that to expel them would be inhumane.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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