Hollande calls limiting economic immigration 'essential'
France's Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande said Friday that limiting illegal immigration during an economic crisis was "essential". Immigration has been a key issue since the far right’s strong showing in the election’s first round.
AFP - French presidential frontrunner Socialist Francois Hollande said Friday it was vital to limit economic immigration in a time of crisis.
"In the period of crisis we are going through, limiting economic immigration is necessary and essential," Hollande told RTL radio.
"I also want to fight illegal immigration on the economic front. It is not right that a certain number of employers, in a cynical way, are hiring illegal migrants," he said.
Hollande reiterated his vow to ask parliament to fix the number of immigrants allowed into France every year.
"I don't think there will ever be zero immigration, there will always be legal immigration. Can we reduce the number? That's a debate," he said.
He added however that he was against reducing the number of foreign students allowed into France to study.
"I think that the presence of foreign students in our faculties is an opportunity, not just for the foreign students but for us," he said.
Immigration has become a key issue in the campaign for the second round of France's presidential election on May 6 after far right candidate Marine Le Pen of the National Front came third in Sunday's first round with 18 percent.
Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy has shifted further to the right since the first round, vowing to "defend the French way of life", reduce immigration and secure France's borders.