Macron Pledges to Reduce Immigration After Claiming Just Last Year That Migration Is ‘A Part of France’s DNA’
John Cody, Remix, August 25, 2023
France must reduce immigration, beginning with legal entrants, President Emmanuel Macron said in a wide-ranging interview with weekly political magazine Le Point. Macron’s remark comes after he last year said that migration “is part of France’s DNA” and oversaw a record increase in immigrants in 2022.
During the Le Point interview, the French president indicated that his government will submit a new immigration bill to the French Parliament in the autumn, the adoption of which has been postponed several times over the past year.
“Are we flooded with immigration? No. You cannot say that. But the current situation is not sustainable, and we need to reduce immigration significantly, starting with illegal immigration. We have a duty to deliver,” the French president said in the interview.
“To do this, we need to better protect our external European borders, because let’s not forget that France is not a country of entry for foreigners arriving in Europe, but rather a country of secondary immigration for foreigners who have entered the European Union from another country,” he added.
As Remix News reported earlier in the year, Macron has overseen a record increase in immigration during his tenure.
“A record year for the flood of immigrants into France: 320,330 residence permits were issued in 2022, the equivalent of the population of the city of Nantes. And that’s without taking illegal immigration into account. It is urgent to regain control of our borders!” Marine Le Pen tweeted earlier in 2023.
On Jan. 26 of this year, the center-right daily Le Figaro commented on the figures published by the interior ministry with the title “Increasingly strong migratory pressure puts France against the wall.” It also ran its daily editorial on the government’s “guilty negligence” concerning immigration.
Macron may be relying on the public’s short memory when it comes to messaging on immigration, as his administration is well aware that mass immigration is rejected by the vast majority of the French populace.
“We also need to be more effective in applying the right of asylum, which is abused by people smuggling networks,” he said.
“This is at the heart of the draft law prepared by the government,” the head of state stressed. “To sum up, yes, we must reduce immigration, but we must also continue to take action through education, integration, authority and the republic. And through the economy. When we had 10 percent unemployment for years, we could not integrate,” the president pointed out.
Macron has also promised to decrease deportations in the past. In fact, he stated that his goal was a 100 percent deportation rate for all foreign nationals ordered to leave the country, but as figures showed in 2021, his goal fell far short, with only 15 percent of foreign nationals being deported.
Macron is once again pointing to a new bill as evidence that he will make progress on an issue the French public is sorely in favor of. He said that Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin will continue work on the draft immigration bill, which was debated in the Senate in the winter but then repeatedly postponed by the government.
“With Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, we will instruct the minister of the interior in the autumn to take the government’s plan forward again and discuss it with all the opposition forces that think along the same lines, and to work together to come up with a plan that is as effective as possible.”