The French Parliament adopted the text of the Immigration law as the far-right voted in favor of the controversial bill, which represented an important victory for French President Macron, but at the same time it caused a deep rift within the parliamentary majority and the government. The radical leftist Mélenchon also called on his allies to confront the Macron-Le Pen axis, and human rights organizations considered it “undermining” the right to asylum.
A joint parliamentary committee was formed after the draft was rejected in the Senate a few days ago, following what was considered a change in the text between its first formulation and the one that was voted on.
This committee engaged in debates and tough negotiations In order to adopt a final version before the General Assembly voted to adopt the immigration law, ending this long phase of dispute over it.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had defended in Parliament a draft that was formulated “in order to protect the French,” “to regulate the conditions of undocumented workers,” and “to simplify our rights.”
Darmanin wrote on X congratulating the adoption of a “strong and tight text” and boasted in front of journalists after its adoption, that this was done without the need for the votes of far-right representatives from the “National Rally” party led by Marine Le Pen.
Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne also considered that “the majority was coherent” in supporting the text and that “the National Rally’s maneuvers failed,” ignoring the opposition of 59 deputies from this majority, before making an important admission in her interview with France Inter radio that there are measures in the text that are in contradiction with the Constitution.
While Eric Ciotti, head of the “Republicans” party, congratulated the achievement of a “historic victory for the right,” a female representative from the “Renaissance” party, to which President Emmanuel Macron belongs, considered that Marine Le Pen’s far-right party “absolutely won everything.” Le Pen said that voting in favor of the project was an “ideological victory” for her party.
Opposition representatives repeatedly pointed to the importance of the far-right’s votes playing a decisive role, especially Olivier Faure, Secretary-General of the Socialist Party.
Regarding what Interior Minister Darmanin said about winning without the need for far-right votes, Agence France-Presse reported that the vote calculation indicated otherwise, as the draft received the support of 349 deputies, while 186 others opposed, out of a total of 573. In the details of these votes, 189 deputies out of a total of 251 members of the pro-government majority voted in favor, eight out of 21 from the “LIOT” parliamentary group, which is registered as an opposition group, have also voted in favor, 62 deputies from the “Republicans,” and two unregistered deputies, in addition to 88 votes from the far-right “National Rally.”
It is true that the draft might have passed if Marine Le Pen’s party had abstained from voting, but not if it had voted against it, especially since the party had withdrawn from its commitment to vote, and in the basic calculation without the “National Rally”, the majority votes were 268 in favor out of the 535 announced, and 274 opposing votes.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the radical left-wing “France Proud” party, immediately denounced what he said was a “disgusting victory” achieved by far-right voices. He wrote on the X platform that “a new political axis has made its way” in the country. His party and the left coalition of traditional leftists and environmentalists “NUPES” called for an emergency meeting to confront the “Macron-Le Pen axis.”
In protest against the approval of the new law, Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau submitted his resignation. Other ministers opposed to the draft, such as Transport Minister Clément Beaune, Housing Minister Patrice Vergriete, and Higher Education Minister Sylvie Retailleau, also waved their resignation.
In the same context, human rights and humanitarian organizations expressed their concern about the law because they see it as undermining the right to asylum, family life, and other rights of foreigners linked to the judiciary and freedoms.
It is worth noting that this immigration portfolio is the second most important in the country after the portfolio to amend the retirement law, which the government forcefully passed through the use of Article 49.3 of the Constitution.