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Compassion and risk

By Susan SachsCorrespondent / March 18, 2009

Reporters on the Job: In reporting the story on the renewed debate in France over illegal migration (read the story here), I spoke with many committed people who identified with the character in the new film, “Welcome,” who gets caught up in the plight of a young illegal immigrant.

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A Parisian named Gaëlle, for example, has taken under her wing the Chinese parents of one of her son’s kindergarten classmates. Two weeks ago she rounded up friends to protest at the police station when the immigrant father was arrested, and she is helping them navigate the French bureaucracy to request legal status.

“I know there is a risk that I could get in trouble,” Gaëlle told me. “But it felt better to help them. In my head, it was better to help than to do sit and do nothing.”

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