Late 2006 saw the publication of an important work on the life of immigrants in France, L'Enracinement. Enquête sur le vieillissement des immigrés en France (Paris: Armand Colin, October 2006), by Claudine Attias-Donfut, which describes the ageing and life-cycles of long-term foreign residents in France. Based on an extensive survey, the first of its kind in France, on immigrants entering retirement and on their life-courses (carried out by the National Retirement Insurance Authority), the book broaches many questions that are essential to grasping the situation of these populations and their integration, including economic activity, standard of living, occupational integration, social networks, health, inter-generational solidarities, religion, financial transfers etc.
Immigration is a developmental process and can be properly understood in detail only in historical perspective and over time - the time it takes for people to put down roots by starting a family, building a career and social networks etc. This is why this book is important, taking as it does a long-term view of France's immigrants. Hedva Sarfati draws the main lessons from a study which, at least partially, makes up for the painful lack of data in this area in France.