Immigration in France: the Annecy tragedy comes in the midst of a security bidding war

While the National Assembly lived Thursday a new pass of arms on the pension reform, the knife attack carried out in Annecy upset the deputies but, after the fright, the politics returned to gallop. The issue of immigration remains at the heart of the news.

Gerald Darmanin's immigration reform bill will soon arrive for consideration by MPs. AFP - LUDOVIC MARIN

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The minute's silence requested by the President of the Assembly has barely elapsed, Eric Ciotti, approaches the microphones. The boss of the Republicans has a message to convey. "It seems that the perpetrator has the same profile that is often found in these attacks, it will be necessary to draw all the consequences, without naivety, with force, and lucidity.


In his sights, the immigration law that the government is refining. A text that the right, but also the far right, already considered lax. "It will raise the question of the will to change this deregulated migration policy that makes people arrive on our soil who have nothing to do there. So we must obviously take control of this migration policy, "proclaims Laure Lavalette, deputy National Rally.

An instrumentalization of the drama, judges the presidential camp. "We have the feeling that all those who come with these proposals in the debate are using what happened to drive a wedge into policies they have been denouncing for years, tackles Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade, Renaissance deputy at the microphone of Aurélien Devernoix of the political serivce. All those who come to surf on all this are unworthy of their mandate. On the left, the words are even harsher, like the ecologist Sandrine Rousseau who denounces: "We do not make a political program on a drama of this magnitude, it is beyond indecency. »

Edouard Philippe and LR, the one-upmanship

Because the issue of immigration is still in the news. This is evidenced by the interview of Edouard Phillipe, former Prime Minister who is clearly positioned on the right for the next presidential election in L'Express (and who returns to the 1968 migration agreement with Algeria which creates a special status for Algerian nationals) or the bill of Gerald Darmanin which should soon arrive for discussion in the Assembly and finally the text presented by Les Républicains, who hold the keys to the Senate and with whom the government has been trying for several months to find a compromise on its files: they tabled last week a second bill on immigration, with a very hard line, after a first that proposed to amend the Constitution to circumvent international treaties. In their latest bill, the Republicans say they want to "put an end to mass immigration" by "acting on all possible levers".

Towards a renegotiation of an immigration agreement with Algeria?

Emmanuel Macron's former prime minister, Édouard Philippe, advocates a renegotiation of a 1968 agreement with Algeria on migration issues, a position relayed by other right-wing leaders at a time when the subject of immigration is once again at the center of French political debate. This proposal, which could again strain delicate relations between Paris and Algiers, resurfaces while a visit of the Algerian president is scheduled soon, even if the dates have not yet been set.

The 1968 agreement organizes the entry, residence and employment of Algerians in France, according to rules derogating from ordinary law. On some points, Algerians are favoured over other foreigners (especially in terms of family reunification), on others, they lose out (especially for students).

In a note published at the end of May for the liberal think tank Foundation for Political Innovation, the former ambassador of France to Algeria Xavier Driencourt also calls for the denunciation of this agreement. The right-wing president of the Senate Gérard Larcher also said he was in favor of a review, at a time when the presidential majority wants to try to find a compromise with the right for yet another immigration bill.

Edouard Philippe's statements have provoked much criticism in the Algerian press. Questioned on Thursday (June 8th), the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs limited itself to saying that "the 1968 agreement and, in general, cooperation and exchanges between our two countries, are obviously the subject of regular dialogue with our Algerian partners". The France issued 600,000 "residence certificates" for Algerians in 2022, according to official statistics.


with AFP)

State medical aid in the crosshairs

In the sights of the right in particular, the abolition of the State Medical Aid. It allows illegal aliens to access care and could be the adjustment variable of the future immigration law. The Minister of the Interior left the door ajar. The system, created in 2000, is regularly the target of the right and the extreme right, where it is considered that the AME generates a "pull of air" for illegal immigration: state medical aid covers 100% of the health costs of foreigners present in France for at least three months.

In search of compromise with the right to pass his bill, Gérald Darmanin said he was ready to "discuss the modalities" of this aid, last Sunday in Le Parisien, while the abolition of the AME to make it an "emergency medical aid" is part of a bill tabled Friday by The Republicans.

In @libe, the secretary general of La Cimade, @FCarreyConte denounces the electoral bargain to the detriment of migrants and calls for humanity to be put back into the debates.

— La Cimade (@lacimade) June 7, 2023

NGO concern

About thirty associations, collectives and unions, including La Cimade and the Syndicat de la magistrature, denounced yesterday Thursday in a joint statement "the security one-upmanship" of these proposals and were concerned "about their possible resumption" in the new version of the bill that the government wishes to present in the summer. "It would be alarming if the government aligned itself with the positions of LR officials and the far right," the organizations wrote.


We need a revival of the political class, starting with the left, the trade unions, but also civil society and the media. " in the face of the "trivialization of proposals that are no longer only carried by the National Rally," Fanélie Carrey-Conte, secretary general of La Cimade, told AFP. "How far are we going to go on the bargain with LR?" she asked.

(and with AFP)

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Read on on the same topics:

  • Immigration
  • French politics
  • Gerald Darmanin
  • Édouard Philippe
  • Algeria