AFP, December 6, 2022
French President Emmanuel Macron is set to make a second attempt at increasing expulsions of illegal immigrants under fierce pressure from his far-right opponents.
Macron’s centrist government unveiled the outlines of a new draft immigration law on Tuesday that will be debated formally in parliament in early 2023.
It comes just four years after a 2018 law with similar objectives, passed during Macron’s first term in office, which also aimed to take the heat out of an explosive political issue.
“We want those people who work, not those who rob.”
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne opened the debate in France’s National Assembly by saying the law would allow France to “say who we want”’ and “who we don’t want” to allow permanent entry into France. “Zero immigration is neither desirable nor possible, and it’s no more realistic than unregulated immigration,” she said.
Darmanin and Macron have linked immigration to delinquency in recent weeks, with both saying that around half of petty crimes committed in Paris are by foreigners.
Speaking to the Parisien newspaper at the weekend, Macron pitched the new legislation as a means of addressing the historic rise of the far-right National Rally, which in June became the biggest opposition party in parliament.
Figures from the interior ministry show that France currently expels around 10 percent of migrants who have been ordered to leave the country and the rate has never been higher than 20 percent.
The new draft legislation, which Darmanin has co-written, would reduce the number of appeals possible for failed asylum seekers from 12 to three and in theory speed up expulsion procedures.
It would also remove safeguards for foreigners who arrived in France as children, making it easier to expel them if they are convicted of crimes — a measure designed to tackle teenage delinquents.
And there will be measures to offer work permits to foreign workers with skills required in particular sectors of the economy, which could include the many employed illegally in the restaurant sector.