If you come to France without the right papers and you want to get French citizenship, then it's really easy.
As the case of Mamoudou Gassama shows, you just have to do something extraordinary. "
Actually, that's not superficial, it's in the Civil Code.
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As a nation based on a set of self-proclaimed values France always open to the idea of "honoring" French citizenship – an opportunity to raise worthy foreigners whose actions defend these values
In the early days of the revolution, there was a law that "gave civil rights to men who served the cause of freedom through their writings and their courage." The beneficiaries included George Washington and Thomas Jefferson
Much later, in 1870, a decree offered citizenship to citizens who had fought alongside France in the war against Germany. Most of those who profited at the time were actually Germans.
And of course there is also the special case of the Foreign Legion, which since the 1830s offered a chance to fight for soldiers of other nations for France.
Contrary to popular belief, Foreign Legion soldiers do not automatically receive French citizenship unless violated in action. Today – with the Legion employing 8,600 soldiers from 150 countries – there are about 200 naturalizations per year.
But all these precedents were set in the days before the mass immigration. Today it is different.
Today there are hundreds of thousands of young men in France who – like Mr Gassama – arrive after a long and dangerous journey, have no real papers and (barely) survive in the shadow economy.
And everyone would love to follow his example.
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Under such circumstances, the President's decision had to be thoroughly examined.
In fact, almost everyone agrees that what Mr. Gassama did to save the boy was sufficiently extraordinary to earn a quick citizenship.
But what some people think about the president is inconsistency.
Why, his critics say, do not apply the same generosity to the rest of the sans-papiers (paperless) – all the other Mamoudou Gassamas whose daily misery is not reported? Why should one sort out a happy person?
Their indignation is all the sharper as an immigration law falls through Parliament right now that – in the eyes of the Left – is clearly putting President Macron in break with France's historic mandate to humanity [19659007Onthelawtheproposalforlegislationorinhumanismisthatanewsitemisanothermatter
Without a doubt, the goal is: to make things as clear as possible, as soon as possible for immigrants. If they can stay, they stay. If they have to go, they go away. They are deported.
In his conversation with Gassama, President Macron made it clear that Mr. Gassama himself would have been on the list for deportation if he had not met a poorly supervised child on a hot day. 19659007] But it turned out differently. Mr. Gassama responded with an instinctive generosity of mind, performing an act of the highest courage and agility, and everything was caught in front of the camera.
For President Macron, who wanted to promote his vision of France as a nation of heroes, that was enough. The act was indeed extraordinary and the beneficiary was not just the boy, it was La France. Mr. Gassama has qualified.