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Analysing France's New Immigration Bill

The introduction of France's new immigration legislation has sparked considerable controversy and ignited a heated debate over its potential consequences. The bill, which is set to undergo review by the Constitutional Council on Thursday, has faced strong opposition from various groups.

Numerous protests have taken place across the country, with tens of thousands of individuals expressing their disapproval of President Emmanuel Macron's proposed policies. While the bill was able to pass in the National Assembly with a significant majority, it faced dissent from members of Macron's own coalition, some of whom voted against it or abstained.

The resignation of French Health Minister Aurelien Rousseau in protest further highlights the contentious nature of the legislation. The new immigration bill includes amendments concerning residency and citizenship, as well as measures aimed at tightening immigration policies.

One of its notable provisions makes it more challenging for individuals in France to sponsor family members and it imposes stricter criteria for accessing welfare benefits. Additionally, the bill alters the jus soli policy, requiring children born in France to foreign parents to apply for citizenship between the ages of 16 and 18, rather than automatically receiving it.

Critics of the bill argue that it aligns with far-right ideologies and accuse Macron of pandering to extremist sentiments. Marine Le Pen, a prominent far-right politician, has welcomed the legislation, claiming it enshrines the principle of 'national preference' in law and gives French citizens an advantage over foreigners when accessing social benefits.

The immigration bill has sparked a debate that goes beyond the traditional left-right divide. According to Philippe Marliere, a professor at University College London, the bill challenges established constitutional principles and blurs ideological boundaries. The inclusion of the controversial concept of 'national preference' in this legislation, a concept often associated with the far-right, marks a significant shift in French political discourse.

The fate of the bill now lies with the Constitutional Council, the highest constitutional authority in France, which will determine its compliance with the French constitution. Marliere predicts that while some provisions may be deemed constitutional, the council is likely to identify certain aspects of the bill as unconstitutional. In such a scenario, the government will have to decide whether to accept the council's ruling or make revisions to the bill.

Despite President Macron's defence of the bill as reflecting popular sentiment, he acknowledges its flaws as a result of political compromise. The council's decision is expected to have significant political implications, as any major censorship of the legislation would be a significant blow to Macron's administration.

Written By: Md.Imran Wahab
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

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