New immigration law comes into force in France

The immigration law was passed by parliament in December after numerous tightenings of the text by the right-wing opposition.

New immigration law comes into force in France

The immigration law was passed by parliament in December after numerous tightenings of the text by the right-wing opposition. On Thursday, however, the Constitutional Council ruled that more than a third of the articles added in the mostly right-wing Senate were either not constitutional or had nothing to do with the original aim of the text.

Among other things, the nine wise men of the Constitutional Council accepted a particularly controversial article, according to which non-EU foreigners can only apply for certain social benefits after five years of residence in France. They also rejected more difficult conditions for family reunification and a deportation deposit for foreign students. The rule that children of foreign parents who grow up in France should no longer automatically receive French citizenship at the age of 18 was also overturned.

After the decision, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin was pleased that the Constitutional Council had approved all the articles in the draft originally submitted by the government. The left-wing opposition was also satisfied with the Constitutional Council's decision.

The head of the right-wing populist Rassemblement National (RN), Jordan Bardella, accused the constitutional judges of an “act of violence” against the law and once again called for a referendum on immigration policy.

For President Macron, the immigration law should be one of the most important reforms of his second term in office. The law is intended to both promote integration and make deportations easier. Macron defended the law as a means of undermining right-wing populists. “It will help us fight against what brings votes to the RN,” he said.

In recent weeks, tens of thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets against the reform plans. In its stricter form, the law also caused discontent in the government camp: more than two dozen MPs from Macron's party and their allies voted against the law. Several government members who had strongly criticized the law lost their jobs in the recent government reshuffle.

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