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France to send home 45,000 illegal immigrants in 2012

(Xinhua)

10:16, May 03, 2012

PARIS, May 2 (Xinhua) -- French interior minister Claude Gueant on Wednesday announced the expulsion of 45,000 illegal immigrants this year, up 20 percent from a year earlier, as part of incumbent president's tough policy to cut immigration flows.

"We fixed a target of 35,000 illegal migrants but we are on way" to expel more, Gueant told LCI four days ahead of Sunday's decisive presidential runoff.

As a countdown on presidential election started, Nicolas Sarkozy tried to snatch a second mandate despite heavy handicap of a misperceived economic record by seeking refuge in far-right rhetoric.

During his last battle to avoid defeat, the incumbent head of state vowed to cut immigration and threatening to pull out of Europe's border-free Schengen zone unless European Union borders are strengthened.

According to figures provided by the High Council for Integration (HCI), 11.5 million immigrants or children of immigrants live in France, representing 19 percent of the country's 65 million population and nearly 180,000 people arrive in France each year.

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