France's Controversial New Project
Updated: Mar 19, 2018
On the 21st of February 2018, Gérard Collomb presented France’s new project: the asylum and integration law. With an estimated number of at least 316,000 illegal immigrants in the country right now, the French government is seeking to find an effective way of controlling immigration into the country.
The proposal of the law has many different components, but there are three main points which it tackles. Firstly, the law looks to reduce the amount of the time it takes to process an asylum seeker. Mr Collomb explained that France would want to reduce the time to around 6 months. Secondly, the proposal suggests that the time taken for an appeal to be processed should be shortened to 15 days. Lastly, the new law would facilitate the deportation of those not granted asylum to other countries.
Mr Collomb explained that passing this project would make the French law more in line with those of other countries, citing Italy and Portugal of examples of European countries where the asylum proceedings only last 3 months. He emphasized the need of there being similar laws across the European Union to maintain continuity across these countries. He argued that refugees would come to the country with the weakest asylum laws, as it would be easier for them to attain asylum status there.
The proposals for this new law has caused a lot of controversy amongst the public. There were protests across France against the project, as campaigners called it inhuman. Many say that 6 months is too short to truly assess someone’s case, and point out that it is hard for the asylum seeker to find a lawyer in such a short amount of time. They say that the authorities are only looking at the figures when making these decisions, and are not considering the human aspect of the issue. Those who come to seek refuge in France often come from war-torn countries. Often, they have come alone, and not knowing the language of the country they are coming to.
Another aspect of the law which others are concerned about is that trying to process so many people in such a short amount of time could take a large toll on the French immigration department. Several immigration authorities are worried about the potential strain of having to take on so much work. Each case is individual, meaning that it requires a certain amount of time to be able to have a deep enough insight to make a decision on whether asylum is granted or not.
With all the numbers, facts and statistics, it can be quite easy to forget just how important a decision on a law like this can be. Many refugees risk their lives crossing the ocean in small boats towards an uncertain future. The government needs to create laws that support both moral duty and the country’s needs. Perhaps the answer to the refugee crisis does not lie in controlling the immigration of the refugees into the country, but in creating a better infrastructure for their integration into a new society.