Marine Le Pen Vows Visa Freeze, Stiff Border Controls Days Before French Election

Far-right Marine Le Pen promised to temporarily halt long-term visas to evaluate whether recipients are taking jobs away from French workers

Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen speaks during a campaign meeting in Paris, April 17, 2017.
Kamil Zihnioglu/AP

French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen hardened her tone Tuesday as voting approached, promising to expel foreign extremists, freeze long-term visas and take back control of France's borders.

Before Sunday's first-round election, Le Pen told RTL radio that she would issue an order to freeze long-term visas for a two-week period so the government can verify, among other things, that the recipients aren't taking jobs away from French citizens.

Le Pen, who has campaigned against immigration and Europe's open borders, also wants to impose a 10-percent tax on labor contracts that go to foreigners and use reservists at the frontiers.

"We cannot fight the terrorism that weighs on our country without controlling our borders," Le Pen said.

Polls show Le Pen is among four leading French candidates, with no clear front-runner. The top two candidates advance to a May 7 runoff.

A poster showing Marine Le Pen on the wall of an abandoned factory on the outskirts of Hayange, France, April 3, 2017.
Emilio Morenatti/AP

The economy is front and center for the candidates, and centrist Emmanuel Macron again pledged Tuesday to revisit the famously complex work laws he said are holding back employment.