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French police officers evacuate a migrant during an operation to dismantle makeshift migrant camps in Paris. French police officers evacuate a migrant during a large operation to dismantle makeshift migrant camps in the north of Paris, Nov. 7, 2019 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

Migrants in France Are Paying the Price for Macron’s Hard Line on Immigration

Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron has maintained a frosty rapport with the national media since taking office in 2017, giving just two press conferences and accusing journalists of “no longer seeking the truth.” So it was a bit out of character when in late October he sat down for a lengthy interview with the magazine Valeurs Actuelles, to outline his priorities for the second half of his five-year term. Immigration—notably, how to reduce it—was chief among them.

Valeurs Actuelles isn’t mainstream or widely read. It’s a conservative weekly magazine known for alarmist tropes against migrants and Muslims, so it seemed like an odd pick for a president who ran as a “radical centrist.” But for Macron’s critics, his decision to talk immigration with a publication closely associated with France’s right confirmed what they had been saying all along: That the young reformer is pushing an increasingly right-wing agenda on immigration, using it to distract from his unpopular economic reforms and to hedge against an ascendant far right. ...

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