Spread the love

The Constitutional Council widely censors the Immigration Law

Photo: Alain Jocard Agence France-Presse Opponents of the new Immigration Law demonstrated Thursday in front of the Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois church in Paris.

Jeremy Tordjman – Agence France-Presse and Cédric Simon – Agence France-Presse in Paris

January 25, 2024

  • Europe

The French Constitutional Council very widely censored the Immigration Law, in particular measures aimed at toughening the government's text adopted in December, under pressure from the right, which caused the presidential camp to sway.

A month after its adoption in Parliament, the nine “Wise Men” of the Council responsible in particular for ruling on the conformity of the laws with the Constitution rebutted most of the most criticized measures: tightening of access social benefits for non-European foreigners, annual migration quotas, tightening of family reunification criteria, student “return deposit”…

“The Constitutional Council validates the entire text of the government,” reacted Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on parliamentary procedure.”

And, according to his entourage, President Emmanuel Macron asked Mr. Darmanin to “do everything possible” to “apply [the law] as soon as possible”.

The executive expected such censorship since, by Mr. Darmanin's own admission, several provisions were “manifestly and clearly contrary to the Constitution”.

Conversely, the president of the far-right National Rally (RN) party, Jordan Bardella, denounced “a coup by the judges, with the support of the President of the Republic”, in deeming “the Immigration Law stillborn” and calling for a referendum on immigration.

Also read

  • Analysis | The adoption of the immigration law plunges the macronie into a crisis
  • With the new immigration law in France, the far right is jubilant, the majority is fractured

For the RN and the right-wing Les Républicains party (LR, opposition), the broad censorship of the bill relaunches the debate on a possible constitutional reform, which they regularly advocate on migration issues.

The decision of the Constitutional Council, also scrutinized by associations for the defense of undocumented immigrants, collectives, lawyers, unions, reshuffles the cards.

Indeed, 35 of the 86 articles of the bill were totally or partially censored, according to the decision consulted by AFP. The Council considered, for the majority of them – 32, precisely – that they had no place in this text of law. These are “legislative riders” which could, however, reappear later in other texts.

Unconstitutional migration quotas

A relief for some, including within the majority itself, of which 27 of the 248 deputies had opposed the text, while the Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, on the left wing of the government, resigned after its adoption.

“It’s a victory this evening,” the president of the NGO Amnesty International, Jean-Claude Samouiller, also reacted during an associative gathering near the Constitutional Council.

On the left, “a snub” for the government was mentioned, “a slap in the face”, a lesson in the rule of law, “and calls were made for the withdrawal” of a bad law.

“The government will bear as an indelible stain the call to pass a law aligning with the historical positions of the extreme right under pressure from LR,” commented Olivier Faure, first secretary of the Party socialist.

Very controversial, the measure extending the length of residence required so that non-European people in a legal situation can benefit from certain social benefits (housing or family allowances, etc.) has thus been completely censored.

Ditto for the tightening of the criteria for family reunification (with a required length of residence increasing from 18 to 24 months), the establishment of a “return deposit” for foreign students or the end of the automaticity of land law for children of foreigners born in France.

The establishment of annual migration quotas determined by Parliament after a mandatory debate was deemed unconstitutional.

The bill retains the structure initially desired by the government, with a large component of simplification of procedures for expelling delinquent foreigners, one of Mr.Darmanin's objectives.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116