The French Parliament will discuss the country’s immigration policy through a Draft Law which will accelerate consideration of asylum and deportation applications
Reported by Algeria, Monday (16/4), French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said
France must be able to get out of a situation that seems to welcome immigrants and not send those who have no right to live in France. The bill will shorten the time period for immigrants to apply for asylum.
One of the objectives of the bill is to detain those who have been denied asylum from 90 days to 135 days while waiting for deportation. Another goal is to shorten the period of time in which a migrant can apply for asylum from 120 to 90 days.
Refused applicants will no longer be able to apply for another residence permit and the appeal period will be reduced to 15 days. Financial assistance will be offered to rejected applicants to voluntarily return to their home countries. “The bill is balanced and will harmonize our procedures with those in neighboring countries,” said French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb.
He said that the asylum policy that seemed loose made France must be responsible for the entry of migrants. However, the immigration bill has faced strong criticism from non-governmental organizations and French government agencies dealing with refugees.
An organization that works with illegal immigrants in France, La Cimade is one of the NGOs that led the bill’s resistance. A spokesman at La Cimade, Rafael Flichman, said that holding thousands of people for 45 days or more was an inhuman act that would result in trauma and violence related to deprivation of freedom.
“Detention centers are prisons. For example, someone who recently committed suicide in a detention center in Marseille. Harassment and attempted suicide are very common in this situation,” Flichman said.
According to Flichman, the number of asylum seekers living on the streets of Paris is not counted. They also do not have access to lawyers, support from associations, legal skills, and no internet access. “This means that they will not be able to appeal in less than 15 days,” he said.
In a letter to the French newspaper Le Monde published in January, a group of analysts and academics accused Macron of having “multiple languages” about migration. The group included Jean Pisani-Ferry, an economist who compiled the Macron economic program.
“Mr. Macron, your policy is contrary to the humanism you advocate. Thus Eritreans, Sudanese or Syrians, insulted in their country, tortured in Libya terrorized in the Mediterranean, who have entered Europe through Greece or Italy, may soon lose their freedom in France, “he wrote.
In an effort to pressure migrants, France began dismantling the “The Jungle” camp in Calais, in northern France, in 2016. The camp was home to 8,000 people, including 1,200 children, who tried to cross the English Channel to reach Britain.
The UN has warned this month that hundreds of refugees still live in inhuman conditions in northern France without access to sanitation. They only have polluted rivers to clean themselves. It is estimated that up to 900 asylum seekers and migrants are still in Calais.
“This law is not based on human philosophy at all. It applies a very punitive approach to immigration,” said legal counsel at the detention center, Marion Beaufils.
He said those who were currently detained in the administrative detention center claimed to be concerned about the bill. According to Eurostat, last year, asylum applications in France rose to 100 thousand. That number has risen consecutively for three years even though the number across Europe has fallen.
The draft law also proposes better protection plans and housing for refugees. It will also extend the right to family reunification. Measures to protect young girls in France from sexual violence will also be strengthened.
“But the positive aspects of reform are very small and will only pay attention to a few hundred people per year,” Flichman said.
The government believes that the proposed bill is balanced and seeks to comply with EU regulations relating to immigration in 2020. This is to be in line with other EU member states.