France set to tighten migrant law despite court ruling

France set to tighten migrant law despite court ruling
# 26 January 2024 18:26 (UTC +04:00)

The French government says it will push through a controversial immigration law "in the coming hours", despite many of the measures being struck out as invalid, APA reports citing BBC.

Most of the 35 measures rejected by France's nine-member Constitutional Council were added to the bill because of right-wing and far-right pressure.

But the new law still represents a hardening of the immigration rules.

Foreigners legally in France could now be deported with criminal convictions.

Even those who came to France before they were 13 or those who have lived in France for more than 20 years could be expelled if they are given substantial jail terms and deemed to be a "grave threat to public order".

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said the Constitutional Council had validated all the government's measures and it was now time to put the law into practice.

"The Republic will never have had a law as tough as this," he told France's TF1 TV channel on Thursday night.

Details on enforcing the law would be handed out on Friday, he said, and as of February or March. every French prefect would have to put together their files to decide which offenders should be expelled.

However, the law also includes measures that prevent authorities from placing under-18s in detention centres and gives prefects the power to hand one-year residence permits to people with no papers who work in jobs such as construction, which are known to be facing labour shortages.

Friday's ruling coincided with latest migration figures from France's interior ministry showing the number of foreign offenders expelled from France in 2023 had risen by 10.7% in 2023 to more than 17,000, although well down on the numbers before the Covid crisis.

Asylum applications increased by 8.6% last year to almost 142,500, but at a slower rate than the year before.

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