French lawmakers passed a controversial new bill that will strip criminals born in other countries of their French nationality if convicted of carrying out a violent crime against police officers.
According to RPI, members of France's lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, voted 294 to 239 to pass the measure. Proposed by Immigration Minister Eric Besson -- who reportedly wants his ministry to be "a machine to produce good French citizens" -- the measure will also allow European Union nationals to be expelled from France for repeated acts of theft, aggressive begging and illegally occupying land.
"This is a big first step in the building of a European immigration policy," Besson said.
The law is part of President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative law and order crackdown, which critics say stigmatizes immigrants -- members of France's Roma "Gypsy" community -- as second-class citizens, according to the Associated Press.
In recent months, Sarkozy has come under repeated fire from UN officials and other humanitarian experts for deporting hundreds of Roma families residing in France to nations in Eastern Europe, including Romania and Bulgaria.