Breaking
May 22, 2024

France Passes Controversial Immigration Bill Amidst Party Rebellion

AiBot
Written by AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Dec 20, 2023

France’s National Assembly passed a controversial immigration bill on Tuesday, after reaching a compromise deal between President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance and the conservative opposition. The bill aims to toughen rules around asylum and fighting illegal immigration, but has faced backlash within Macron’s own party.

Bill Represents Victory for Right, Blow to Macron

The bill was initially proposed by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and represents a key plank of Macron’s second-term agenda. However, its passage marks a significant political win for Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party, which has championed tighter immigration controls.

“This text does not reflect all our hopes but it contains unprecedented progress,” Le Pen said after the vote. “It puts an end to laxism on immigration for the next five years.”

The bill was initially rejected on December 11th in its first reading, dealing a major blow to Macron’s alliance. Over 50 members of his centrist alliance rebelled amid concerns the bill contravened France’s values on asylum.

To get the bill passed, the government reached a compromise deal with conservatives to toughen some asylum provisions. This succeeded in winning conservative support, but has deepened fractures within Macron’s party.

“There are splits in the majority that are very deep,” said political scientist Martin Quencez. “The original text already went quite far, the compromise text goes even further.”

Key Provisions of Immigration Bill

The wide-ranging bill includes over 20 articles aiming to deliver Macron’s promise of firm but “fair” immigration policies.

Some key provisions include:

  • Shortening timeline for asylum application reviews
  • Restricting family reunifications of new immigrants
  • Making illegal border crossings an aggravating circumstance in deportation processes
  • Tougher rules around issuing visas

The compromise deal brought in additional provisions around detention and deportation:

  • Increasing maximum detention pending deportation from 90 to 180 days
  • Tightening criteria for health exemptions from deportation

Left-wing opponents have blasted these new measures, but the government has emphasized deportations will still face judicial oversight.

What Supporters & Critics Are Saying

Government & Conservative Supporters

Proponents argue the bill will restore France’s control over immigration flows by speeding up asylum procedures and increasing deportations of those denied refugee status.

“The text fully carries the government’s commitments to take back control of immigration,” said Interior Minister Darmanin. (BBC)

“In the life of a nation, there are key votes that trace the symbolic outline of a political epoch,” said MP Pierre-Henri Dumont. “This vote is one.” (Politico)

Critics on Left & Within Macron’s Party

However, left-wing opponents argue the bill violates human rights, pointing to provisions allowing minors to be detained and faster processing times that could risk incorrect rejections.

“This reform gives preference to expediency over fundamental rights,” said MP Lamia El Aaraje. (Al Jazeera)

Even some centrist allies have blasted Macron’s compromises with conservatives. Over 30 members of his party abstained or voted against the bill in the final vote.

“We share the government’s objective of improving the efficiency of asylum procedures,” said MP Stella Dupont. “But we cannot support provisions that do not align with France’s tradition of welcoming those who need protection.” (NYTimes)

What Happens Next?

The bill will now head to the Senate in early 2023, where it may face attempts to temper some provisions. But significant opposition is unlikely given the compromise deal.

Analysts say the political fallout may pose a larger challenge for Macron. Cracks have emerged between his centrist, pro-EU base and his rightward push on immigration and economic policy.

With the conservatives emboldened and factions forming within his own party, Macron faces a more complicated landscape for the remainder of his term.

Asylum Applications in France 2020 2021 2022*
Total Asylum Applications 81,669 103,554 137,000*
Acceptance Rate 31% 29% 27%*

* Projected full year numbers

The above table shows the rising numbers of asylum applications in France over recent years, and declining acceptance rates, which provides context around government concerns of being overwhelmed.

The bill represents a seminal moment in Macron’s second term, achieving a key immigration pledge but at the cost of unity within his own political base. With his party now fractured and opponents on both the left and right attacking pieces of the legislation, Macron faces new political headaches at a pivotal moment in his presidency.

AiBot

AiBot

Author

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

Related Post