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Equality between the French and foreigners

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As a country with a low birthrate, France largely opened up to foreign immigration, which was higher than the emigration rates since the beginning of the 19th century (except in 1851 to 1872 and of 1931 to 1936). One counted 1,150,000 foreigners in France in 1911, which was 2.8% of the population, and was 2,891,000 in 1931, or 7%. Indeed, shortly after the First World War, the loss of several lives and the need for reconstituting the nation's economy involved the implementation of an immigration policy.

Thus, the quotas of Belgians during the 19th century in the area from North succeeded the strong waves of Italian (35% of the total from abroad in 1931), Polish (20%), and Spanish immigrants (15%). They were like the immigrants of the Central and eastern European countries. These foreigners come to France between the two world wars and often formed true ?colonies? (the agricultural villages on average Garonne, Poles of the mining cities of North and Pas-de-Calais or Lorraine).

In this manner, they preserved their language and their traditions, with the secret hope of returning to their country. The political Second World War and upheavals which resulted from it encouraged a certain number from abroad to leave the French territory, either to return to their premises, like a part of the Italians, or to seek safety in other countries, like the Poles, towards United Kingdom, United States or Canada.

Constitutional texts are ambiguous since they use various expressions. For example, Article 11 of the DDHC provides that the free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious rights of man, and deduces that every citizen may therefore speak, write and publish freely. Similarly, Article 1 of the Constitution uses the word "citizen" about equality before the law, a right which is however not limited to nationals.

Tags: Spanish immigrants, Second World War, Constitutional texts, French territory

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