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France: Parliament rejected Macron’s immigration law. Too bland and too severe in the same time

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Macron has problems with his immigration policies: the French parliament, with a joint left-right vote against it, rejected his bill to regulate immigration.

The French interior minister, Gérald Demardin, was disappointed and accused the opposition of being purely polemical and, in the end, only wasting his time.

 


In reality, this reform, which promised on the one hand more lax rules for the regularisation of workers and, on the other hand, more toughness in the control of illegal immigration, has been brutally scrapped and sent home. How come? Simply because it managed to displease everyone!

A middle way that displeased everyone

As announced since November, the government intends to regularise the situation of certain foreign workers. Article 3 of the text created, on an experimental basis for four years, ‘a temporary residence card that mentions work in shortage occupations’. This card would have been available ‘as of right’ to any ‘foreigner who has carried out for at least eight months in the last twenty-four months a subordinate professional activity appearing on the list of professions (in shortage) and justifying “a period of uninterrupted residence of at least three years”. Practically a total immigration amnesty, as long as the immigrant was committed to doing some thankless work.

The card would be valid for ‘one year’. The government also wants to create a new residence permit for health workers to attract foreign doctors and ‘meet the need for recruitment’ in this struggling sector.

Responding to Gérald Darmanin’s wishes, Article 1 of the bill also made the granting of a multi-year residence permit conditional on mastering a minimum level of French, which opened the door to free immigration from French-speaking countries, of which there are not a few; it was practically a door to the Africanization of France. Moreover, asylum seekers who were likely to be granted international protection, especially Ukrainians, would have immediate access to the labour market.

As for the ‘control’ aspect of immigration, the text, through Article 9, aimed to ‘facilitate the expulsion of foreigners who do not respect the values of the Republic and commit crimes on the national territory’. Its Article 10 also reduced ‘the scope of protections against decisions imposing an obligation to leave French territory (OQTF) when the foreigner has committed acts constituting a serious threat to public order, public security, or state security’. It also accelerated the time for the approval of any immigrants arriving with NGOs to 48 hours, and this rule should be imitated in Italy equally.

The law contained rules that were trying to appease all positions, promising countermeasures but objectively opening France to immigration. This rule was rejected, for opposite reasons, by both the left and the right. The fact that it was, as always with the Macron-Bourne government, dropped from above, without prior consultation with the political parties, condemned it to rejection. If the government had first negotiated with the Rassemblement National, perhaps the rule would have passed. But that required humility and political intelligence. No kidding!

 

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