After months of twists and turns, the highly controversial immigration bill arrives on Monday 11 December to be debated in the hemicycle of the National Assembly. But it is immediately threatened by a motion to dismiss that could interrupt its consideration.

At 16 p.m., Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who has made a strong commitment to this bill, which marks Emmanuel Macron's second five-year term, will defend this text aimed, according to its formula, at facilitating the expulsion of "those who behave badly" and the integration "of those who behave well". But in the aftermath, the bill will be subjected to a first crash test, the vote on a motion of rejection tabled by the ecologists.

If the left, the right and the National Rally (RN) were united around this motion, it could be adopted and immediately interrupt the examination of the bill, and the more than 2,600 amendments that are to be discussed over two weeks, including weekends.

The parliamentary shuttle should then continue on the basis of the Senate's text, which is much more right-wing than the one rewritten by the deputies in committee. It would be a dramatic turn of events that LR and the RN intend to keep in suspense, almost until the opening of the session.

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'More opponents than majority' in the Assembly

"There are arguments for and against. The argument 'against' is that obviously we want to debate because Mr Darmanin says everything and the other way around. The 'pros' is that we are directly opposed to this law which creates a new immigration channel" with the facilitated regularisation of workers in jobs in short supply (catering, construction, etc.), Marine Le Pen summed up on Sunday, with a group of 88 deputies.

For the head of the LR Éric Ciotti, the adoption of this motion "would lead to a new debate on the Senate's text", the "only one" that "is suitable". But some LR deputies are reluctant, especially among the 17 signatories (out of 62) who said they were ready to discuss with the government at the end of November in an op-ed.

"Arithmetically, there are more opponents than a majority, since we have a relative majority," Gérald Darmanin acknowledged on Sunday. But "it would be surprising, on a text that interests everyone, if the deputies who represent the French people did not want to discuss," he relativized.

This is a way of taking public opinion as a witness and putting pressure on the LRs. "If the LR tomorrow does not vote for the text, which allows 4,000 delinquent foreigners to be expelled per year, what will they say to their voters?" said Gérald Darmanin, who called on Éric Ciotti "to find a compromise on a text supported by 80% of the French people".

Gérald Darmanin, on this point in agreement with Élisabeth Borne, insists that he does not want to use 49.3, unlike the law on pensions.

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Darmanin wants to "reach out" to Les Républicains party

To this end, the Minister of the Interior intends to "extend a hand" to the LR on the offence of illegal residence or the supervision of regularisations. Within the presidential camp, he will be able to rely on the deputies of Édouard Philippe's Horizons party, which proposed on Sunday to limit the possible regularizations by "quotas".

But this outstretched hand on one side of the chessboard is likely to irritate Macron's left wing, which also has "its red lines", his spokesman, the president of the Law Commission, Sacha Houlié, told Les Echos on Sunday.

"It would be irresponsible to go beyond our political DNA (...) The adoption of the text cannot be done at the price of dividing the majority," he warned, reiterating his opposition to the offence of illegal residence.

Sacha Houlié also launched an appeal to the left "which has never achieved so much progress" on regularizations or the end of the presence of minors in places of detention.

However, this seems to be out of the question. On the contrary, while the NUPES has imploded following Jean-Luc Mélenchon's refusal to label Hamas as a terrorist, LFI deputies, communists, socialists and ecologists want to show that they can find themselves on a "common cause".

With AFP

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