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Controversial new French immigration law promulgated by President Macron

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The administration of French President Emmanuel Macron published the formal text of a new immigration law in its Official Journal on Saturday, with the first instructions on applying the legislation already presented to officials.

The law’s promulgation comes after France’s Constitutional Council censured 35 of its 86 articles, including contentious additions insisted on by the right, such as measures restricting access to social benefits and the introduction of immigration quotas.

While the bill was seen as one of the signature reforms of Macron’s second term, some in his camp had baulked at the stricter version, with about a quarter of his allies in parliament voting against it or abstaining.

The final text upheld by the council retains key elements initially desired by the government, with a large part of it dedicated to simplifying procedures for expelling delinquent foreigners — one of the objectives of Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin.

An article on the regularisation of undocumented workers in industries facing shortages was also kept in the text.

After the Constitutional Council’s decision, Macron had called on Darmanin to do “everything in his power” to “implement the immigration law as quickly as possible”, a member of the president’s team told AFP.

Darmanin, who had previously said some measures were “clearly contrary to the constitution”, described the council’s ruling as a win for the government.

Anger on the right

The decision, however, sparked condemnation from the right, with Jordan Bardella, president of the far-right National Rally party, criticising what he called a “coup by the judges, with the backing of the president” in a post on social media platform X.

He called for a referendum on immigration as the “only solution”.

The president of the conservative Republicans, Eric Ciotti, accused the council of colluding with Macron against the “will of the French people, who want less immigration”.

Only three of the articles censured by the council were rejected based on their content, with the rest tossed out because they were deemed to be outside the scope of the law.

As such, nothing is stopping parliament from voting on them again later as part of different legislation.

The Republican head of the Senate, Gerard Larcher, urged the administration to “resubmit a text that conforms to the agreement” reached with the right.

The head of the far-left LFI party, Manuel Bompard, also called for the law to be withdrawn, saying “the text validated by the Constitutional Council corresponds to the text rejected by the Assembly” and therefore has “no legitimacy”.

But Interior Minister Darmanin poured cold water on the possibility of further legislation, saying the executive “will not present a bill” on the subject. (Source: AFP)

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