In a TV debate, Mr Sarkozy defended his plan to cut the number of new arrivals in half if he is re-elected next month.
Mr Sarkozy is trailing in the opinion polls behind the Socialist candidate Francois Hollande.
He is also competing for conservative voters with the far-right National Front party led by Marine le Pen.
The president said while immigration could be a boon for France, it needed to be controlled more tightly through tougher qualification rules for residency.
The story points out that this is actually not his first negative set of comments about immigrants, despite the fact that his own father was an immigrant from Hungary. As I pointed out here a few months ago, in 2010 President Sarkozy ordered the expulsion of Romas (Romanian Gypsies) from France.
Of some interest is the fact that the foreign-born population in France is now just under 12 percent of the total--one percentage point lower than the US. You might think that this would be some kind of tipping point, except for the fact that in Canada, for example, the figure is 20 percent, while it is 15 percent in Austria, and 14 percent in Sweden, according to numbers from the OECD, compiled by the Migration Information Source.