sluice-gates opened. France, the generous, warmheartedrnFrance of Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, and Jean Jaures, was goingrnto resume her age-old humanitarian mission as a pays d’accueilrn(a land of welcome) for the downtrodden and oppressed. Tornmake it clear that this was not just hollow rhetoric, a law was enactedrnin October 1981 which “regularized” the existing statusrnof illegal immigrants (about 130,000, according to one estimate)rnand also abrogated a Work Code dating from 1932,rnwhich had been designed to protect the interests of Frenchrnworkers against “unfair competition” from immigrant labor.rnNot content with that, the Socialist government in 1984 issuedrna decree making it possible for any immigrant to obtain a tenyearrncarte de sejour (identity card for foreigners) after one yearrnspent in France. Mitterrand himself consecrated the new “Welcomernto All” policy by publicly declaring that “regular” immigrantsrnwere, quite naturally, “at home here.” This policy, saysrnMassenet, was “premeditated anarchy,” the ultimate, diabolicalrnaim of which was to confuse and to paralyze France’s middle-rnof-the-road conservatives by forcing them either to endorsernthe “racist” policies of the xenophobic rabble-rouser, Jean-rnMarie Le Pen, or meekly to accept the Socialists’ “humanitarian”rnparty line on immigration.rnTo anyone but a blinkered Socialist, it should have been immediatelyrnapparent that such an “Open House” policy couldrnnot be long pursued without building up enormous trouble forrnthe future. The moment the word spread—and it spread eastwardrnas far as Indochina and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), southward asrnfar as Senegal, Cameroon, and Mali—that the French authoritiesrnhad grown so tolerant that they were now actually amnestyingrnillegal immigrants, thousands of poor Africans and Asiaticsrndecided that it was worth running the risk of a possible arrest asrnan illegal immigrant, since, if caught, the chances of being subsequentlyrnreleased were high and the prospect of being deportedrnto Ouagadougou, Dakar, Kinshasa, or Colombo just aboutrnnonexistent.rnIn 1985, Remy Halbwax, who then headed a conservativernpolice trade-union—for in France, curiously enough, there arerntwo police unions, with the left-wing union considerably outnumberingrnits rival—assured me that “clandestine immigrants”rnwere illegally pouring into the Mediterranean seaport ofrnMarseilles at the rate of 1,000 per day. Figures like this must berntaken with a grain of salt. The only “clandestine” immigrantsrnwho figure on official French registers are those who are actuallyrnstopped at some frontier checkpoint; and the magnitude ofrnthis interception problem can be judged from the fact thatrnthere are no fewer than 900 main and secondary roads leadingrninto France from Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland,rnItaly, and Spain, in addition to scores of seaports and hundredsrnof miles of casually guarded coves and beaches.rnIn reality, the mediatic froth periodically worked up in Parisrnover the “scandal” of illegal immigration has obscured the existencernof an infinitely graver phenomenon: the extraordinary facilitiesrnoffered—always in the name of humanitarian “mercy”rn—to hundreds of thousands, and eventually to millions, ofrn”legal” immigrants, most of whom end up in France, with nornthought of ever returning to their godforsaken “homelands.”rnHuman nature being what it is—resourceful, crafty, and whenrnnecessary deceitful, particularly for the hard-pressed—thosernwishing to reach the El Dorado of the French welfare state werernnot long in discovering gaping “loopholes” in regulations thatrnseemed to have been deliberately designed to facilitate their access.rnHere, it must be admitted, the intellectual rot—that is tornsay, the passive acceptance of lofty ideals regardless of the practicalrnconsequences—had set in years before the Socialistsrnseized the reigns of power in 1981.rnIn 1974, when the first signs of rising unemployment beganrnto trouble France’s dirigiste rulers, Valery Giscard d’Estaing’srnfirst prime minister decided that France would do well to limitrnthe number of foreign immigrants entering France and to stickrnto the principle of “national preference” in the awarding of jobsrnto French workers. This, as the prominent Figaro journalistrnThierry Desjardins has pointed out, recognized what can be regardedrnas an arithmetical link between immigration and unemployment.rn(Crudely stated, the higher the rate of foreignrnimmigration, the higher the level of domestic unemploymentrnis likely to become.) But two years later, in 1976, the samernprime minister, for fear of appearing too hardhearted, grantedrnimmigrant husbands the right to bring their wives and childrenrnto France according to the generously inspired principle of regroupementrnfamilial. The prime minister who established thisrnfateful privilege, which no one since has dared to abrogate, wasrnJacques Chirac, now president of the French Republic.rnThis generous concession proved to be a monumental blunderrnfor sociological reasons that should have been obvious. Uprnto 1976, the prevailing assumption had been that immigrantrnworkers, particularly from North Africa, came to France on arntemporary basis and that they would eventually return to Algeria,rnTunisia, Morocco, or more distant Senegal to join the familiesrnthey had left behind and had been supporting with savingsrnfrom their monthly earnings. But once wives and children, notrnto mention brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and cousins, couldrnquite legally cross the Mediterranean according to the nowrnsacrosanct principle of regroupement familial, the umbilical linkrnwith the homeland was fatally severed. The wives, offered maternalrnbenefits in what Giscard d’Estaing had decided to turnrninto a Lyndon Johnson-style welfare society, proceeded tornspawn more children, each one of whom was entitled byrnbirthright to French citizenship and to what was once the pricernof republican France—access to the system of universal, freern(i.e., state-financed) education which Prime Minister Jules Ferryrnhad introduced in 1879. (Statistics are a bore, but it is worthrnnoting that whereas “purely French” mothers give birth to a nationalrnaverage of 1.6 children, the average for mothers of Algerianrnorigin is 3.2, for Moroccan mothers 3.7, for Turkish mothersrn3.9, and for Black-African mothers 4.8.)rnHad Giscard d’Estaing been reelected president in 1981, it isrnjust conceivable that he might belatedly have realized the gravityrnof the problems he was piling up for the future and have takenrnenergetic steps to limit the damage. Personally, I tend torndoubt it. yrrogant intellectuals—and in this respect Giscard isrna thoroughbred—are usually reluctant to admit past errors ofrncalculation; and not for nothing did the satirical weekly Le Canardrnenchaine consistently refer to Giscard as “Sa Suffisance”rn(which might best be translated as “His Self-Satisfied Stuffiness”)rn. Three things at any rate are certain. By simultaneouslyrngranting immigrant workers the right to import their familiesrnand to allow them to enjoy all the benefits of French social securityrn—including maternity benefits of several thousand francsrnper child, free medical and pharmaceutical care, and even unemploymentrncompensation—the high-minded philanthropistsrnruling France were thoughtlessly promoting the “slummification”rnof overpopulated suburban areas, with all the ethnic tensionsrnsuch a process was bound to arouse. They were prccipi-rn16/CHRONICLESrnrnrn