WHAT CAN A CITY DO FOR ITS IMMIGRANTS? THE STRATEGIES OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN FRANCE
As the proportion of immigrants among the inhabitants of today’s cities is growing, they have to find and form new bonds and social relations once established in their new place of residence. Their integration into the majority society can be significantly facilitated by policies implemented in their favour by local governments. This paper evaluates and compares the practices in two different French regions: in the capital of Paris and in the towns of the rural region of Basse-Normandie. The research has shown that the attitude of town halls in the cities studied is significantly influenced by the size of the immigrant population, how long it has been in the city and its composition, as well as by the political persuasion of the city leaders. The most striking difference between national level policy and that implemented in daily practice was found in the city of Paris. In the region of Basse-Normandie there was also a statistically significant correlation between the helpful attitude of the city government to the immigrants and the activity of immigrants themselves, as shown by the number of local non-profit organizations founded by immigrants. The French experience can serve as a lesson and an inspiration for cities in other parts of world.