The National Assembly of France has recently passed a new immigration law. This new controversial law has exposed the unusual divisions in young centrist party of President Emmanuel Macron.
On Sunday, April 22, the measure was approved after a long debate of 61 hours. The measure received 228 votes in favour, while 139 were against and 24 were abstaining. The measure has mainly been passed with the support of Republic On The Move (LREM) party of Macron.
However, Jean-Michel Clement, LREM deputy, rebelled and casted no vote for the proposed law. He further announced about him quitting the President’s party.
The opposition to the measure included people from across the political spectrum voting against it. These included lawmakers from both the right-wing and leftist parties, as well as the far-right National Front.
As the deputies proposed over 1,000 amendments, the disputatious debate stretched into the weekend. This led to a delay in the voting of the Lower House of the French Parliament, which was supposed to vote on the bill on Friday.
The members of LREM suggested over 200 changes, as the lawmakers of Macron openly challenged his plans. They argued to double the maximum time migrants can be held in detention, which are fixed for 90 days.
Where the rightwingers criticised the bill for being too soft, leftwingers consider it to be repressive. However, the government defended the bill and claimed it as balanced.
Gerard Collomb, Interior Minister, said, “It aims for ‘better controlled’ immigration, halving the waiting time for asylum applications to six months while also making it easier to deport those turned down as ‘economic’ migrants.”
According to the latest bill the accepted refugees will be given more help to integrate. These can include – better access to work and French lessons.
Herve Saulignac, the Socialist deputy, said, “Nothing justifies locking up a kid.”
The time of 120 days for which the asylum-claimers have to lodge their application has also been reduced by the bill to 90 days. IT also gives them a grace period of two weeks to appeal if unsuccessful. However, according to NGOs this is not enough to gather enough evidence in support of their claim.
Despite all the revolt and long debates, the bill is expected to pass, as LREM holds more than half the seats after lashing traditional parties in parliamentary elections of June.
Last year, bucking the general trend in Europe, France received a record of 100,000 asylum applications. However, between the year 2016 and 2017, the number of asylum seekers halved.
Due to the shortage of accommodation, several Africans and South Asians end up sleeping on the streets of Paris.
Where the immigration bill is under controversies, President Macron is under the pressure for insisting to continue with sweeping reforms.