Poll: 6 in 10 French people in favor of a referendum to limit immigration

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More than six in ten French people are in favor of a referendum to limit immigration, according to a survey by the CSA Institute for CNews, and considering National Rally leader Marine Le Pen’s promise to hold an immigration referendum if she is elected, the poll results could be a boost to her election chances. 

This study was carried out on a sample of 1,000 people representative of the French population over 18, via an online questionnaire. More precisely, 62 percent of French people are for a referendum on immigration, with 35 percent of people “completely in favor” and 27 percent of “somewhat favorable”.

Conversely, 19 percent of those polled are totally against the establishment of a referendum on immigration. To these, 18 percent of rather opposed respondents were added, which makes this idea unfavorable for a total of 37 percent of people.

Women approve of the hypothetical referendum a little more than men, at 63 percent against 62 percent. In terms of age, 68 percent of young people aged 18 to 24 are in favor of this vote, compared to 60 percent among 25-34 year-olds, 63 percent among 35-49 year-olds, and 58 percent among 50-64 year-olds.

The results correspond with the political positions of those polled. On the left, 61 percent of people disapprove of holding a referendum on immigration, and this number even rises to 66 percent among those close to European Greens. In the center, no majority response can be concluded, with 50 percent for and 50 percent against. Finally, 93 percent of those polled close to the right say they are in favor of this referendum, and 98 percent for National Rally supporters and those even further to the right. 

Immigration less and less accepted in France

During a ministerial meeting last week on the issue, in the presence of Emmanuel Macron, an adviser to the president affirmed that “the acceptability rate of immigration in France is increasingly low”. In France, the issue of immigration remains thorny, and government policy is often criticized in this regard. Macron, fearing Le Pen’s electoral chances, recently asked for a fast change to laws that would increase expulsions of foreigners in an irregular situation. Macron had promised a 100 percent deportation rate in the past, but currently it only stands at 15 percent.

Le Pen has promised an immigration referendum if she is elected, saying, “My first decision would be to hold an immigration referendum,” she said. “I think that for decades the various governments have been making decisions on immigration matters without the French people ever having been heard or questioned on this subject.”

Questioned this Wednesday at the National Assembly, Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin demanded a strengthening of border controls due to the development in the last four months. The ministry reported 20,000 arrests of foreigners at the Italian border, and 15,000 at the Spanish border, i.e. “four times” and “five times more than in the past”. 

Polling has consistently shown that a large majority of French reject continued immigration, but Macron’s administration has persecuted political groups that have embarrassed the government’s weak response to border control. 

Last December, Xavier Bertrand, candidate for regional elections in Hauts-de-France, also submitted the idea of ​​a reform of the Constitution on the themes of secularism and immigration, intending to fight against radical Islamism. 

Title image: Migrants walk away as police forces clear an area Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 in the north of Paris. Migrant encampments are becoming increasingly visible in the French capital. Police cleares Thursday several thousand people from a northern Paris neighborhood where migrants have repeatedly been removed. They are taken to shelters, and some eventually sent home. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

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