French presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen announced last week that if she comes to power, she intends to save the state €16 billion annually by drastically restricting or eliminating altogether social welfare assistance provided to foreigners.
The National Rally leader detailed her plan during a press conference at her campaign headquarters in Paris on Thursday, one day after writer and polemicist Éric Zemmour officially announced his presidential candidacy, the French news outlet BMFTV reports.
By reserving family benefits to households with at least one French parent, deporting foreigners who haven’t been employed for a year, replacing healthcare coverage for illegal immigrants with “vital emergency aid,” restricting family immigration by 75%, and ending the reception of unaccompanied minors, Ms. Le Pen contends the French state could save €16 billion annually.
“Everything is done to hide the financial impact” of immigration, Ms. Le Pen argued as she addressed the press alongside her chief of staff Renaud Labaye.
Ms. Le Pen, who according to the latest opinion polls would garner 20% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election, clarified that her plan wouldn’t be implemented for eight months to a year so as to allow those impacted time to adjust.
The annual figure of €16 billion that Ms. Le Pen claims she can save French taxpayers is contested by some economists who have cited the National Family Allowances Fund, which suggests that the social welfare paid to foreigners—housing, family benefits, disability, and RSA—amounts to just nine billion years per year.