Monday 16 December 2019

Macron plots immigration crackdown

French President Emmanuel Macron Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
French President Emmanuel Macron Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Shehab Khan

Emmanuel Macron's government is clamping down on illegal immigration with a new bill that accelerates the expulsion of people who do not qualify for asylum.

The plan will reduce France's "consideration period" for an asylum application to a maximum of six months, down from about one year including appeal.

It will also and make the illegal crossing of borders an offence punishable by one year in jail and fines.

The French president has been criticised by human rights organisations who have argued the policy represses asylum-seekers, as it will make it more difficult for them to defend their rights.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the plan is "balanced" and "aligned with European procedures".

The bill, which is to be debated in Parliament in April, would extend the length of time authorities are allowed to hold migrants with no legal right to remain from 45 to 90 days in order to organise their deportation.

The French Human Rights League has called for ­protests in Paris to denounce ­"governmental policies that infringe on migrants' freedoms".

Cyrielle Taezin, an employee at the national court of asylum, said migrants would not have enough time to prepare their applications to remain.

"They have experienced trauma. They need psychological checks. They need time to express what they've gone through," Ms Taezin said.

Official figures show more than 100,000 people applied for asylum last year, up 17pc from 2016. The largest number came from people from Albania, Afghanistan, Haiti and Sudan.

Independent News Service

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