Action on a bill, the aim of which is to expel 800,000 foreigners from France, was postponed by the government today.
If enacted, the measure, it is estimated, will result in the expulsion of about 200,000 Jews. Of this number 50,000 Jewish refugees from Germany would be affected, since the bill is specifically directed against persons who have settled in France during the past two years.
A large group of deputies have announced their intention to oppose the bill on the grounds that it affects political refugees.
CHARGE ORDERS ARE IGNORED
“Are these refugees,” these deputies ask, “to be put in the same category as convicts simply because they have no country to go to?”
The excuse given by proponents of the bill is that the police are experiencing great difficulty in enforcing the existing measures against “undesirable aliens.” Because the police are unable to keep a close watch on them, many foreigners have chosen to ignore deportation warrants served on them by the authorities.
Foreigners who have not complied with orders to leave the country are liable to prison sentences. This, however, proponents of the bill assert, has not proved a deterrent. Those arrested and jailed, it is pointed out, have served their sentences and have gone on living in France in the hope that their presence would remain undiscovered.
To obviate this evasion of the l#w the bill proposes that such aliens who have disobeyed deportation orders be condemned to not less than one year and not more than five years in prison. Old offenders would be deported to convict settlements in Guiana or elsewhere.
SEEK “NANSEN” RELIEF
Among the deputies opposing the bill the opinion is being expressed that the time is ripe for intervention by the Nansen Relief Committee at Geneva. While this committee is conceded to have done useful work on behalf of the refugees, its resolutions have never received full practical application.
One deputy has offered an amendment to the bill suggesting that expulsions be decided upon by a committee of three. The amendment also urges that the offender be given the benefit of legal assistance.
Should this amendment to the bill be adopted, it is believed here that refugees will no longer be subject to the whims of some ill-tempered police official anxious to rid France at any price of “the foreigners.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.