New Law for 2023 to Accelerate France’s Repopulation

On September 15th, the President of the Republic presented the governors gathered on the Élysée Street with a roadmap for the coming months. Among the various topics discussed, Emmanuel Macron outlined a bill on asylum and immigration that will be presented to parliamentarians in early 2023. The new provisions are aimed at accelerating the settlement policy of French territories, especially in rural areas. Immigration outside Europe. The announcement is surprising because it was not included in Emmanuel’s Macron Confession of Faith sent to the French before the second round of the April 24 presidential election. However, this is part of an extension and acceleration of a policy of immigration distribution across the country that has been in place for several years.

President Emmanuel Macron’s project

In between the two presidential elections organized in April 2022, Emmanuel Macron presented the French with “10 reasons” to choose his project in a declaration of faith. Among these, immigration was mentioned briefly in the form of the slogan “For Europe on its borders to fight illegal immigration”. His candidate, who was re-elected as President of the Republic, at the time cautiously announced that he would expand his policy of allowing non-Europeans to reside in France. He has just lifted the veil of his project in front of an audience of supervisors at the Elysée on September 15th.

‘Ineffective and inhumane policies’ of acceptance and integration

In his 1 hour 47 minute River Speech, Emmanuel Macron, among other subjects, produced an inventory of our country’s immigrants that could be said to be realistic. The president of the republic condemned the complexity and length of the asylum procedure, the opportunism of economic migrants seeking asylum, the generosity of the social assistance system, which outperformed other European countries, and the often imperfect acceptance and integration. The low number of foreigners when they arrive in France and the low number of deportations of foreigners to their home countries in unusual circumstances.

On the one hand, it becomes more difficult to reach a consensus on the action plan presented following this diagnosis. Emmanuel Macron said he had asked the prime minister to work on “a very different policy on the distribution of women across the territory” based on “demographic changes” already reflected in the decline in school enrollment. Announced. Men applying for residence permits (editor’s note), and those who received them”.

The President of the Republic said: Better than placing them in an area that is already densely populated and where large-scale economic and social problems are concentrated. The head of state announced, concluding, that bills related to asylum and immigration, coupled with ambitious orientation and programming laws, will be presented to parliament in early 2023.

Flow management policy

Emmanuel Macron has therefore taken control of immigration files after the announcement of a bill in September by the Interior Minister on 26 July, aimed solely at streamlining the return process for foreigners in irregular situations. I got it back. In fact, if measures in this direction are indeed included in the bill to be submitted to parliamentarians at the beginning of 2023, what is very novel is that the President of the Republic has decided to allow foreigners, especially those living in rural areas, to enter France. It has announced a real policy to accommodate foreigners who live in the United States. area.

Surprising as it may seem, the announcement is in line with the policies pursued by the socialist government under President François Hollande and those pursued by Emmanuel Macron since he came to power. A brief history allows us to trace the main steps leading to the welcoming of ever more non-Europeans in France.

Development of facilities for accepting asylum seekers and refugees

On August 31, 2015, at the height of the immigration crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany’s borders would be wide open. This announcement indirectly led to a massive influx of immigrants to other European countries. Some countries, such as France, have opted to receive migrants and arrange care in reception centers rather than closing their borders. To this end, the government, headed by Bernard Cazeneuve, has embarked on a program to increase the number of temporary accommodation offered throughout France.

On September 5, 2017, just a few months after his election, President Emmanuel Macron, in an address to governors, announced a bill on asylum and immigration, with a new increase in immigration capacity within the framework of government plans. did. In fact, so much effort has been made in this regard that he has doubled the number of reception and accommodation facilities for asylum-seekers and refugees in a few years.

The mapping carried out by Cimade is impressive in this respect. 50,000 asylum-seeker reception centres, 64,500 asylum-seeker emergency accommodation, 5,350 asylum-seeker reception and accommodation, 4,500 reception and situation-finding centres, temporary accommodation centres. in 8,700 locations.

In a documentary produced in 2018, Eric Dick highlights the profound transformation of Vendée towns and villages by immigration, highlighted by the establishment of these reception regimes. During the course of the investigation, the large numbers of immigrants arriving in particular municipalities, their religion (very predominantly Muslim), their religious practices (often hardworking), the rise of Islam in these deeply Christian lands , found the support of aid organizations. Immigration, the search for cheap labor by certain companies, the silent spread of halal meat, the angelic concept of ‘living together’.

Given the scale of the migrant flow, creating ever more accommodation soon seemed insufficient. Successive governments have now implemented more and more direct reception policies for immigrants, and it is no longer a matter of welcoming and accommodating, but rather placing both “unaccompanied minors” and asylum seekers on national territory. It can also be distributed throughout.

Distribution of “Unaccompanied Minors”

Among immigrants arriving in France, young foreigners are increasingly likely to take advantage of minorities to apply for assistance under the Child Welfare (ASE). This phenomenon is of such magnitude that it frequently saturates the receiving capacity of many departments, especially in Ile de France.

To “solve” this problem, or at least reduce its impact, the government decided by a ministerial decree issued in 2016 to “proportionately distribute minors among sectors.” Departments previously excluded from this type of immigration control are in fact forced to build reception arrangements or pay for hotel accommodations. Therefore, following a decree of 22 April 2022, the Côtes d’Armor will this year 1.01% of unaccompanied minors integrating child welfare, Finistère 1.46%, Morbihan 1.15% and Ille-et-Vilaine 1.65%. should be accommodated.

Distribution of asylum seekers

Asylum seekers who have recently arrived in France are also very numerous in Île-de-France. The Asylum and Immigration Law, promulgated in 2018, provides for a command mechanism for regional asylum seekers to balance distribution within the region. A national plan for the reception of asylum-seekers and the integration of refugees establishes a “territorial readjustment”, more specifically by directing asylum-seekers from Île-de-France to other parts of the territory. The purpose is that. In a presentation document, the government cautiously said, “The system will be implemented gradually over several years to ensure its sustainability.”

New Stage of Settlement Policy “Demographic Transition”

In a speech delivered on September 15, the President of the Republic set out the main directions of future policy for distributing immigrants throughout the territory. He justifies it for his two reasons:

– “rural areas (…) are losing population”, “probably should close schools and university classes”;

– Recently arrived migrants are concentrated in densely populated and poor cities.

The novelty compared to existing systems lies in the enduring feature of the controlled settlement of French territories that the head of state hopes to inspire. It is no longer a matter of temporary support, but their permanent settlement.

Emmanuel Macron is therefore trying to solve the population problem as much as he is trying to improve the integration of foreigners in France. This strategy is dubious on many counts.

Immigration policy cannot be reduced to managing a flow that can never be slowed down or stopped. Regardless of the French’s right to sex, they tend to see men and women as interchangeable.

The course set by the President of the Republic also ignores the root causes of rural outflows such as mechanization, workforce reductions. Population policy does not constitute regional planning policy, much less economic policy. Formally transplanting a population to a declining village does not automatically create jobs. However, this excludes cases where the national or local government subsidizes with taxes.

Finally, one can wonder about the meaning of the priorities of the President of the Republic. From the age of 15 to the age of 29, he has 1.5 million young people who are unemployed, uneducated and untrained, so it is no use waiting for emergency plans on this issue. A youth engagement contract that is supposed to bring inactive young people into employment set for 2021 will take time to produce all the expected positive effects. The multiple difficulties in integrating immigrant populations that do not deserve the greatest attention. All of these considerations were not included in President Emmanuel Macron’s speech to governors on September 15. Demonstrations organized in Karak on Sept. 17 against a migrant settlement project in the village probably presage an insurrection movement called to gain momentum.

Paul Tormenen

Photo credit: DR
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