France’s controversial immigration bill, which passed in December 2023, aims to introduce stricter controls on migration. Spearheaded by Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and backed by President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist coalition and conservative lawmakers, the bill has been subject to significant political maneuvering and ideological division. The support from Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally, and the opposition within Macron’s own party, including the resignation of a minister, highlight the contentious nature of the legislation.
The bill has undergone various amendments to make it more agreeable to the right, including weakening measures for residency permits and extending the eligibility duration for migrants to access welfare benefits. It also introduces measures such as delaying housing benefits for non-EU migrants, implementing migration quotas, and making it more difficult for immigrants’ children to become French. At the same time, the bill facilitates residency for migrants working in sectors with labor shortages and makes it easier to expel illegal migrants.
Given the controversy and constitutional concerns, the bill has been submitted to the Constitutional Council for review. This body will examine whether the law aligns with the French constitution and decide whether it can be enforced in its current form or requires amendment. The decision is expected within 30 days, marking the next step in the ongoing debate and implementation of this significant piece of legislation in France.