An ad-hoc committee of the French legislature came to a compromise regarding the country’s new immigration bill, which the right hailed as an “ideological victory.”
Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally, welcomed the agreement and announced that her MPs would vote in favor of the bill.
“We are celebrating an ideological breakthrough, an ideological victory for the National Alliance, as this law now enshrines the national priority of giving French citizens an advantage over foreigners in our country in access to certain social benefits,” said Le Pen.
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The bill’s key elements are a five-year residence requirement before non-EU migrants can receive state welfare aid — or 30 months if they are employed. It also contains provisions that dual nationals who have committed a crime in France can lose their citizenship and be repatriated.
The law also features migration quotas, and makes it more difficult for the children of immigrants to become French citizens.
After the French Senate rejected the government’s original watered-down proposal last week, a joint committee of the two houses debated the issue for four days.
Eventually, last night, the assembly passed the bill, which many analysts say is a cornerstone of Macron’s second term in office, which began last May.
“Today, strict measures are necessary,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said after the vote in the lower house. “It’s not by holding your nose in central Paris that you can fix the problems of the French in the rest of the country.”
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Meanwhile, right-wing parties, whose more stringent proposals have been incorporated into the bill, are celebrating the vote as their own victory. The left has described the proposals as “radical.”
Éric Ciotti, leader of the center-right Republicans, said “This is our text” and indicated that the group would vote in favor.
But Socialist leader Boris Vallaud, in agreement with other left-wing forces, condemned “a great moment of shame.”
While the vote was a clear success for the right, it also showed cracks in Macron’s own Renaissance party, as 20 of the party’s left-wing MPs voted against it.