France's Lower House passes bill to tighten migration process

France's lower house approves law that tightens asylum rules

France's lower house approves law that tightens asylum rules

France's lower house approved by a large majority on Sunday a bill that would tighten asylum rules after tense debates that created the first cracks within President Emmanuel Macron's party.

One member of Mr Macron's La République en Marche (LREM) party, Jean-Michel Clément, voted against the legislation and 14 members abstained.

While Marine Le Pen, the leader of the FN, and elected members of her party voted in favor of some of the most restrictive elements (link in French) of bill, manywere still unhappy with the government's response to immigration.

Many other left-wing parties voted against the bill, opposing provisions that allowed children to be held in detention for up to 90 days.

The government defends the bill as balanced, but it has attracted criticism both from rightwingers who say it is too soft and leftwingers who have blasted it as repressive.

Human Rights Watch say shortening asylum application deadlines could negatively impact the "most vulnerable asylum seekers, who would be the ones most likely to miss the deadline".

Accepted refugees will be given more help to integrate, such as better access to work and French lessons.

"Nothing justifies locking up a kid", said Socialist deputy Herve Saulignac.

The bill also reduces the time that asylum-claimers have to lodge their application from 120 to 90 days and gives them two weeks to appeal if unsuccessful, which NGOs say is not enough to gather more evidence in support of their claim. Last year, 100,000 migrants requested asylum in France - 17 percent more than in 2016 - and another 85,000 were turned away at the border. Richard Ferrand, the head of Macron's parliamentary group in the assembly, defended the bill; saying the bill proved "our determination to regulate migration, to promote effective integration, to guarantee the right to asylum, in line with the commitments made by the president of the republic". Pressure over the immigration bill comes as Macron insists he will push on with sweeping reforms including an overhaul of state rail operator SNCF, despite strikes and street protests.

The unions are gambling on public opinion turning in their favour but polls suggest an opposite trend, with only 43 per cent backing the strike in an Ifop poll released on Sunday.

The scale of the disruption has also eased over the course of the month as fewer workers continue with the strike.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.