Macron tries to ease government crisis after approval of new immigration law | International

French President Emmanuel Macron will appeal to the French Constitutional Court to verify whether the new immigration law is legal and respects fundamental rights. The law was adopted Tuesday evening in the National Assembly with votes in favor of the traditional right, the far right and a majority of deputies supporting Macron. But a quarter of Macronists voted against or abstained. The president is now trying to suppress the rebellion. It won’t be easy. The Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, has already announced his resignation. Others, belonging to the social democratic wing of the government, have threatened to do the same.

The left and part of Macronism consider that the law breaks the principle of equality of residents of France and, more serious still, it assumes without saying it one of the totems of the extreme right, the so-called national preference. That is to say the priority of the French over foreigners, even if they have the necessary residence and work permits, to access the solid French social protection system. Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally (RN) party and aspiring to succeed Macron at the Elysée, celebrated the adoption of the text as an “ideological victory” for her party, the National Rally.

“I will submit (the bill) to the Constitutional Council because I think that there are provisions which are not in conformity with our Constitution”, declared Macron in an interview in the political debate C à vous, on the public channel France 5. The Constitutional Council It serves as the Constitutional Court in France.

Macron justified that the final text “is the result of a compromise”. “It’s the shield that we were missing,” he summarized. He formulated it in the European Union migration agreement approved almost simultaneously in Brussels: “What we are doing in Europe with the asylum and immigration pact and this law will allow us to fight more effectively against networks illegal immigrants and to return people who are illegally on our territory. » He defended that the other objective, in the French case, is to “better integrate, through learning languages ​​and work”.

The version adopted is not the one that Macron initially wanted, more balanced between repressive and progressive measures. But lacking an absolute majority in the National Assembly, they needed the votes of the opposition. And they ended up agreeing on a tougher and more right-wing version of the text with the right-wing Republicans, who have a majority in the Senate. The Constitutional Council could cancel certain articles and relax the law again.

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Critics denounce that the law calls into question the fundamental principles of the Republic. One of them is that in France the nationality of a citizen does not depend on his origins, but on the place where he was born, according to the tradition of so-called law of soil, as opposed to law of blood. Until now, a foreign child automatically became French at 18. You will now have to ask for it. The idea is that those who want to be French express their desire to be so, without this being automatic.

Another criticism points to the obligation for foreign students to pay a deposit when they come to study in France. This is a measure, inspired by the right, which aims to prevent people wishing to immigrate to France from registering at universities to obtain a visa, then not going to class. University rectors denounced in a press release that this measure “goes against the multi-secular tradition of openness to the world of French universities” and “is an insult to the Age of Enlightenment”.

The most controversial measure is the one which toughens the conditions for foreigners, even if they have a work and residence permit, to benefit from family assistance or housing assistance. That this draws a difference between the French and foreigners is what leads critics to say that Macron has adopted national preference, a concept so far toxic to most parties except the far right.

The progressive newspaper The worldin an editorial, deplores: “Since forty years ago the French political debate took up the question of immigration, rarely has a government expressed such commitment to the forces which prosper by designating foreigners as scapegoats.” For Le Figaro, the political crisis is the result of “denial (by Macron) of his lack of absolute majority in the Assembly, which exposes him to the shifting sands of opposition, and of the denial, above all, of the central place played by the immigration “. “occupies the French evil.” The conservative newspaper believes that the president has tried for too long to please both the left and the right and has not understood that, on the question of immigration, public opinion leans to the right.

In the interview on France 5, Macron denied that the measures represent a break with the fundamental values ​​of the Republic, but admitted that he does not like some of them: “Did I ask for them or did the Government promote them? No. Do they represent an ontological, regime break? No.” Le Pen’s claim of an “ideological victory” is “a crude maneuver”, declared the president, since until the last minute his party had opposed the law. Face the accusation , encouraged by former socialist president François Hollande and others, to embrace the ideas of the far right, he responded: “If we close our eyes, if we say that there is no problem immigration, we are playing the National’s game. Regroupment.”

Of the six or seven ministers who threatened to resign, only one confirmed it publicly. “I’m not giving anyone any left-wing or moral lessons,” he said. The world the head of Health, Rousseau. “I confirm clinically that it is not possible for me to explain this text.” This minister belongs to the social democratic wing of the Government. He was also chief of staff to the Prime Minister, also from the social democracy.

One of the effects of the law could be the disruption of the balance between the different currents of macronism, a movement which was intended to be transversal and bringing together moderates from the left and the right. The crisis has left deep wounds. It will take time for them to close.

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