In primary, secondary and high schools, a large solidarity movement is growing to give support to the children of men and women who are illegal residents and as such are threatened with expulsion.
This movement is primordial for French society : the children in French schools are the nation’s own children, they are the children of the Republic.
Whether in a personal capacity or through associative action, film-makers have been committing themselves to sponsoring and protecting these families who are in precarious situations and even in danger.
The decision to make a collective film rapidly became essential.
To make this film, we turned to the Réseau Education Sans Frontières (RESF) [The Education without Borders Network] and to certain teachers, who introduced us to some of the children of illegal immigrants, known in France as "Sans Papiers” (Illegal immigrants).
With the agreement of their parents, we worked closely with the children in writing workshops. The children described their lives, and compared their experiences. These dialogues produced a text which then became a film. Their film. A simple format using their words and their stories. A story recounting fear and pain.
The children brought all their passion and hopes to the creation of this work.
The hope of seeing an end to this arbitrary situation by which they are labeled as children of Illegal immigrants, children of "sans-papiers" (in french).
The hope of being able to live without the daily fear of being expelled.
The passionate need to learn and grow up in a country which is their country, just as much as it is our country.
These children must be allowed to live amongst us.
Let these kids grow up here !
A "sans papiers", it is someone who has no residence permit, even if he has been in France for a long time.
Like many of you, our parents came from somewhere else.
They ran away from violence, poverty.
They came here to work and give us a better life.
Some of us were born here.
With or without permits, France is our country.
We live in lodging houses, furnished flats, rooms into which we are crammed.
Everyday, we are frightened.
We are scared that our parents might be arrested by the police when they are going to work, when they take the metro.
We have one fear, that they are put in prison, that our families are separated and that they send us back to countries which we don’t know.
We have this in mind all the time.
Even when we are at school.
Is it normal to be frightened when we go to school ?
Last summer, we and our parents were hopeful that the nightmare would be finished. We hoped to have those permits, at last.
We made files, we spent days and nights queuing in front of police headquarters.
We registered in offices.
We thought that we would get permits, that we would be regularized,that the nightmare would be finished.
We met all the criteria but we were told : No !
It was arbitrary.
We came openly with our names, addresses.
Those who got their permits had the same file as ours. And yet, we were told : No !
Now, we are in danger and we must hide.
Why is it so unfair ?
We don’t want to live in fear any more.
We want France to adopt us.
We want to have residence permits, to be regularized
Let us grow up here !
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