France’s parliament has signed into law a controversial asylum and immigration bill — despite opposition on the left which decried an effort to limit arrivals while the far right saw the measure as not going far enough. The bill is designed to accelerate asylum procedures by cutting the maximum processing time to 90 days after entering France from 120 currently. The text was adopted on a final reading by 100 votes in favour to 25 against with 11 abstentions yesterday.
The Senate had rejected the bill on 31 July 2018 but the lower house passed the text as President Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique En Marche party holds a large majority, even if the law has exposed divisions within his own camp. As well as slimming down the time taken to overcome administrative hurdles the text cuts to six months, from 11, the time limit to make an asylum claim while facilitating both the expulsion of those rejected and the acceptance of those whose bid succeeds.
But the extent of the doubts harboured by some lawmakers had already been laid bare by one member of Macron’s party — former Socialist Party MP Jean-Michel Clement — who left the party after voting against the text on an earlier reading for the first time in the assembly since the president’s election 15 months ago. Some lawmakers on the left lamented what they saw as a move to limit the scope of asylum cases and decried the law’s doubling of maximum detention from 45 days to 90, concerned at the possibility of “children behind bars” for up to three months.
The EU’s current asylum rules put the migrant burden on their port of entry to Europe — with Italy and Greece most seriously affected, although arrivals have also been on the increase in Spain in recent months.