French MPs approve contentious immigration reform

Legislation has been enacted by the French parliament to strengthen the country’s immigration policy.

Both the centrist Renaissance party of President Emmanuel Macron and the far-right National Rally (RN) of Marine Le Pen supported the amended law.

In opposition to the vote, Health Minister Aurรฉlien Rousseau tendered his resignation on behalf of Macron’s party.

A third of French region leaders have stated that they will not comply with certain legal provisions.

Parliament denied an earlier draft last week due to opposition from the National Rally and the left. In reaction, the government revised the legislation, introducing more stringent provisions.

The newly enacted legislation imposes additional challenges on migrants seeking to transport family members to France and postpones their eligibility for welfare benefits.

Detaining minors in detention centres is also prohibited.

In determining eligibility for benefits, a contentious provision discriminates between citizens and migrants, including those legally present in the country.

Right-wing parties supported the more stringent iteration on Monday.

She hailed the amended measure as an “ideological victory” for the far right, a sentiment that Ms. Le Pen condemned.

“This is our bill,” said the leader of the right-leaning Republican party, Eric Ciotti. “Firm and courageous” was his description of it.

Leftists, however, claimed that Macron was facilitating the far right. “History will remember those who betrayed their convictions,” said Olivier Faure, leader of the Socialist party.

An indication was received from 32 of the 101 departments of France, including Paris, that they would not implement the benefit provisions of the law for non-citizens.

The French vote occurred hours before an EU agreement to modify the 27 member states’ asylum systems.

The EU member states and the European Parliament reached a consensus on the new pact, which calls for the establishment of border detention centres and expedites the expulsion of asylum claimants who are denied entry.

The new system, hailed by Parliament President Roberta Metsola as a significant agreement, permits the relocation of asylum seekers from the southern member states, which receive the greatest number of arrivals, to other nations.

Both the Parliament and member states still need to formally approve it.

French Immigration Law Sparks Intra-Governmental Discord and Criticism

The newly enacted legislation in France brought to light internal schisms within the ruling alliance. Twenty-two members of parliament abstained and 27 voted against the measure, representing nearly a quarter of pro-Macon MPs.

Former member of the Communist party Aurรฉlien Rousseau, the Minister of Health, resigned in opposition to the immigration law.

Al Braun-Pivet, the president of the lower house of parliament and a member of Mr. Macron’s party, expressed strong unease regarding certain provisions of the law.

Although the measure would not have passed had Ms. Le Pen’s party voted against it, it would have passed had it abstained. Utilising the extent of its majority, the government demonstrated that it was not reliant on votes from the National Rally.

After the vote, the prime minister acknowledged that certain provisions of the legislation might be deemed unconstitutional.

“We shall consult the Constitutional Council,” she stated on French radio, alluding to the highest authority that safeguards the tenets of the constitution.

Human rights organizations criticized the new immigration reform as the most regressive legislation in decades.

The party led by Mr. Macron lost its parliamentary majority in June 2022 elections. Subsequent to that period, the government has often encountered challenges in securing parliamentary ballots.

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