On June 26, the French Senate adopted the asylum-immigration bill following the Law Commission’s recommendations, which had called for a toughened bill on several points. It had proposed “a more coherent, firmer, and more realistic counterproposal” as well as “credible alternatives to the government’s distorted solutions.”
The new law was swiftly criticized by several sources. Human Rights Watch said the law’s standards for defining a refugee are “lower, vaguer and open to abuse, making it easier and more likely that asylum seekers who have a right to protection in France, would be rejected. Moreover, if a refugee with status does prove to be a threat to public order or national security, that is a ground for expulsion from the country following due process under the Convention anyway.”
In a HuffPost op-ed, Bernard Jomier refers to the new bill as a “neo-populist policy that legitimates extremes.” He argues that “the law deters applications by restricting the right to asylum by multiple procedural obstacles.”
He writes, “To add to this big lie about asylum, the government has added a section on migration. In an unprecedented confusion of sorts, by a series of disparate measures, foreigners see all their fundamental rights flagrantly restricted, not welcomed to come to France and forced to leave the country as soon as possible if they returned. This is this law’s philosophy, and that is to say that it is not up for the real challenges of migration.”
Rachida Dati also criticized the law, saying “The asylum and immigration law that has just been passed is not up to the migration crisis.” Following the news that 223 migrants had arrived in Malte, President Macron stated that “several dozen,” would be accepted into France. “They are there, so we should welcome [them],” she responded.
The legislation “has not adapted, our policies have not anticipated what is happening today,” she added. Italy had recently been criticized for refusing to accept migrants. Dati said that the country “has done its part, for a long time, it has been [Italy] that’s directly accepted the most migrants, with all the difficulties.”
Regarding France, she said: “We have the right and ability to let them in, to see who is eligible for protection and who is not, to be able to expel them,” she explained.