Immigration: Emmanuel Macron is in search of a delicate balance

Posted on December 5, 2022 at 4:37 pmUpdated December 5, 2022 at 5:39 p.m

The instructions on paper are clear. The future immigration law, due to be examined in parliament next spring, must combine “firmness and humanity”, as Emmanuel Macron declared in Le Parisien this weekend. Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne added in the columns of “Figaro” on Monday morning that this should make it possible to “decide faster, remove more effectively and better integrate those who have to stay in our territory”.

In fact, the executive has been working on a delicate balancing act for several months to arrive at a text that Matignon hopes is “effective.” On the one hand, there is talk of better enforcement of obligations to leave French territory (OQTF), which are particularly poorly enforced. On the other hand, it is about speeding up procedures, better integration and promoting labor immigration.

“Area of ​​Uncertainties”

“The current situation creates an area of ​​uncertainty, expectation and in-betweenness for a number of people entering the area,” we note in Matignon. As always, the tension is high on this issue. Even after the reception of “Ocean Viking” in France a month ago, they became more intense.

To de-mine and try to find a majority, the executive branch is playing the advisory card as much as possible without revealing the exact contours of the bill. Gerald Darmanin and other ministers involved in the bill met with parliamentarians, associations and employers’ organizations.

In Parliament, the subject will first be called for discussion without a vote in the National Assembly this Tuesday (then in the Senate on December 13), as provided for in Article 50-1 of the Constitution. In the process, it is expected that the draft law will be sent to the State Council and presented to the Cabinet of Ministers in the first quarter of 2023. In the spring, it will be examined first in the Senate and then in the Milli Majlis.

The government is moving to the right

At the political level, the government becomes clearly entitled to a majority in the National Assembly – hence the harshness of the discourse on expulsions or the supposed demonstration of the link between immigration and security – focusing on managing its majority. . “Gérald Darman’s red line should reassure the majority before moving to the right,” sums up a Macronist from the first circle.

In 2018, the asylum immigration law passed by then-Interior Minister Gérard Collomb, a year after Emmanuel Macron arrived at the Elysée, caused major upheaval in his majority. The En Marche group spread its divisions between the right wing and the left wing.

The lessons of this law were learned when a working group was created within the Renaissance group (formerly En Marche) in the National Assembly to define a doctrine and above all to avoid internal hiccups as much as possible. .

Mathieu Lefèvre, who co-chairs this group with MP Stella Dupont, said: “We are convinced that we have neglected the subject, especially in the face of the caricatures of the extreme right and the extreme left.” From the right, Mathieu Lefèvre is close to Gérald Darmanin, while Stella Dupont belongs to the left wing of the majority.

Tight game with the right side

Right, the game seems difficult for the executive. The debate scheduled for Tuesday in the National Assembly will allow him to gauge his mood, “to see if each other’s positions have changed,” the Macronist deputy noted. But no one forgets that since 2017, the right and far-right have made immigration one of the main angles of attack against Emmanuel Macron, and it is getting tougher.

The upcoming immigration law allows them to once again undo their policies, which the left has no qualms about doing, but for the opposite reasons. Last week, LR’s parliamentary nest allowed the party to carry several immigration-related texts in the midst of internal elections.

Debates in the Senate regarding the investigation of the asylum immigration mission loans of the budget have been intense. “This bill is divisive in nature. We will have to craft and convince the MPs one by one,” says Renaissance MP Mark Ferracci.

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