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Marine Le Pen wants to end free education for illegals

The leader of France's Front National and a strong contender for the presidency next year, Marine Le Pen, has suggested that children of illegal immigrants should not have access to free public education.

Published: December 9, 2016, 2:35 pm

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    Paris

    Socialist leaders, including the Moroccan-born education minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, have expressed horror at the idea.

    Speaking in Paris, Le Pen said:

    “I’ve got nothing against foreigners but I say to them: if you come to our country, don’t expect that you will be taken care of, treated (by the health system) and that your children will be educated for free. That’s finished now, it’s the end of playtime.”

    The French nationalist leader clarified afterwards to news agency AFP that her proposal would not apply to all foreigners, but only to those who are on French soil illegally.

    However, the condemnation from the French Left was immediate and unequivocal. Education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem called the idea “shameful and unworkable”. In a statement Vallaud-Belkacem said:

    “With these words, which I condemn with the greatest force, Madame Le Pen proves… her complete indifference to the terrible human circumstances faced by young children. I remind you that it’s a matter of honour for the French republic to guarantee to children, to all children, the right to an education — in other words, the right to a future.”

    Marine Le Pen’s proposal follows shortly on British cabinet letters that were leaked by the BBC a week ago in which Theresa May – while still in charge of the Home Office – wanted Britain to “deprioritise” education for children of illegals in the United Kingdom.

    It led to a heated exchange within the cabinet, with David Cameron’s education secretary, Nicky Morgan objecting to the “segregation” such a measure would engender:

    “The overall effect of a deprioritisation measure would be to concentrate children of illegal migrants in the least popular schools in any area, jeopardising our increasingly important focus on tackling both segregation and extremism, and with consequent impacts on the children of British nationals who attend the schools. Aside from the impact on ordinary parents, there is also a risk to children’s safety. Introducing these checks could lead to some children not being registered for school because of real or perceived fear of deportation.”

    karin@praag.org

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