migrants shouldn’t have to risk their lives to be treated with respect

May 29, 2018
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After Mamoudou Gassama, a French immigrant, risked his life to save a small child hanging from a balcony last week, the usual tune of respectability politics wasn’t far behind. Despite the super-racist anti-black climate of anti-immigration rhetoric in France right now, politicians have been quick to praise and honor the then-undocumented immigrant because of his exceptionally heroic actions climbing a building to rescue a 4-year-old. And, don’t get us wrong, they were absolutely heroic actions. But what about all the other immigrants who don’t happen to be Spiderman? Those immigrants are chided and ridiculed and abused.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s tough immigration policy is criticized, even in his own camp, for pandering to rightwing populist sentiment. Regarding his latest immigration bill, the Guardian reports: “the bill proposes allowing those awaiting deportation to be held for up to 90 days – twice the current 45-day period. The government had wanted this extended to 135 days. [Besides], Human Rights Watch said reducing asylum application deadlines could hit the most vulnerable asylum seekers, who it said were the most likely to miss the deadline. “Under the guise of providing a more effective asylum system, the bill includes a series of measures that would diminish access to protection,” said Bénédicte Jeannerod, HRW’s France director.”

After meeting with Macron at the Elysee Palace it was announced that Gassama would be a French citizen for his actions. Unfortunately, many undocumented migrants in the counrty have to face state violence and live in unsanitary camps.