French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced the draft of the controversial proposal, which must be approved by Parliament. The measure aims to expedite the judicial processes for the expulsion of people without papers and toughen the requirements to access residence. This occurs in a context in which France increased the expulsions of illegal persons in its territory.
The Government of Emmanuel Macron is advancing with a bill to speed up the expulsion of migrants who remain illegally in French territory. The draft, which must be approved by the Legislature, was presented by the French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, at a press conference.
Immigration control is one of its fundamental objectives, according to Darmanin. It will also be a key tool in deciding who is fit to stay in France. According to the official, this is not intended to create exceptional regularization.
To facilitate the expulsion process, the resources available to delay or avoid it will be reduced almost entirely, reducing the appeal instances from 12 to 4. One of the bets is to authorize courts throughout the country to deal with these files, which before they were evaluated only in Paris, the capital.
Le projet de loi pour «controller l’immigration et améliorer l’intégration» that nous avons présenté ce matin en Conseil des ministeres avec @olivierdussopt answer 4 questions 👇
— Gerald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) February 1, 2023
According to the Interior Minister, the measure mainly targets those who commit crimes. Based on the principle of being “bad to the bad”, they will not be able to benefit from the protection measures that are also stated in the document, such as a one-year work permit for those who occupy jobs where there is a shortage of labour.
However, the text poses tough requirements to access this permit: those who come from outside the community borders must demonstrate mastery of French through an exam, in addition to signing a commitment to respect the values of the Republic, such as the separation of the State and religion and equality between men and women.
A bill that seeks to conform to the most conservative sectors
Among other issues to highlight in the proposal is the benefit for those who have been in the country for less than three years and for at least eight months working in sectors lacking manpower, who will be provided with a one-year residence permit. However, this will not give the right to family reunification, limited to those of at least 18 months.
In addition, the requirements for the “talent passport”, an attractive option for skilled labor such as doctors, will be simplified.
To attract the votes in Parliament that allow the measure to be approved, Darmanin reported that the proposals of other political factions such as the conservative Los Republicanos will be taken into account. This raises the automatic expulsion of the Gallic territory in case of denial of the permit, or the setting of quotas to limit the recourse to the residence permit.
The mission also seems difficult because Éric Ciotti, president of Los Republicanos, has already anticipated his rejection of the government proposal. The sectors of the left, meanwhile, also advanced that they reject the project.
Finally, if the law is validated, the penalties for those who commit the crime of facilitating the illegal entry of immigrants will increase, as well as those who exploit them at work or take advantage of them.
The increase in expulsions
Before this bill was released, France had been increasing expulsions of immigrants. According to the EFE agency, it is estimated that in 2022 deportations increased by 15%.
In data administered by Minister Darmanin in the last week of January, more than 3,500 people who committed the crime were expelled from the country, a figure that doubles that registered in 2021. However, this was far from the more than 20,000 of 2019.
Last year, more than 135,000 asylum requests were registered, which represents an increase of more than 30% compared to those requested in the twelve months prior to 2022.