Opinion – The frustrating experience of trying to legally immigrate reveals France’s true attitude toward immigrants. Source: An Immigrant in France – Editorial – The New York Times – John Gelmini

This article from the New York Times from Dr Alf about the attitude of the French bureaucrats dealing with immigrants reminded me of my experiences of emigrating to America to get married.

I had to produce reams of paper about my previous jobs and financial status, I had to sign a piece of paper saying that I would not be a public charge for 5 years, my father-in-law had to accompany me to the then Department of Immigration and Naturalisation in Tampa, Florida, a drive of more than 220 miles (round trip) and produce an affidavit saying that he would support me should I become unemployed, my then now estranged wife had to undergo a very intrusive interview, dealing with her reasons for marrying me, my-father-in-law was interviewed separately to cross-check the facts.
I had to produce my medical records and I was medically examined twice, to ensure that I was not the bearer of a dangerous or contagious disease.

My fingerprints and a form had to be completed by the police in Tampa, along with a series of photographs to satisfy the immigration authorities, and the immigration authorities wrote to the UK Home Office to establish that I was not a criminal.

Whilst undergoing this process, I was often in rooms with a veritable United Nations of divergent people and the tone of one’s interviewers was one of skepticism, pressure and hectoring.

The French may have attitudes to immigrants that this intrepid reporter for the New York Times didn’t like but she ought to try going through the process of immigration and citizenship into her own country, as I did and then compare the two experiences.

The US media is quick to point to finger at other countries but does not necessarily give to same publicity to weaknesses in the US public sector bureaucracies.

John Gelmini

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