Mr. Minister of State
My dear colleagues
Six months, almost to the day, after the serious events that shook our suburbs, and the day after the student demonstrations that led you to withdraw the CPE, here, Mr. Minister of State, you are submitting to the national representation a new text which under the guise of integration, aims to further harden the living conditions of immigrants in our country.
This is the second text in three years on the same subject, a second turn of the screw, as if you wanted to punctuate your ministerial journey in this way.
Once again you claim to respond to an emergency – but what urgency? – by arousing by this mixture of radical remarks and blustery modernism that you are fond of, a new reflex of mistrust towards a population, which certainly presents its own difficulties, but also enriches France with its diversity as has done Italian, Spanish or Polish immigrations for decades.
This new law makes a population a little more precarious, which nevertheless only wishes to integrate.
Pushed out of their homes by the force of events or economic circumstances, these men and women have chosen our country, and you would be surprised if, conversing with them without a CRS cord and out of the range of the cameras, you heard them express their attachment. to France.
You only want to respond to this with a new accumulation of prohibitions. I want to tell you, beyond the political divide that opposes us, my conviction that you are presenting today the text too many. A text which, without convincing the reactionary electorate you are targeting, creates the concern of a majority of the population. A text which provokes reactions of which you do not yet perceive all the acuteness, reactions which you undoubtedly minimize, but which show how France can be more generous, more fraternal, more republican than you seem to think.
Mr. Minister of State, give up! Give up this project, the most destructive of the republican pact since the Liberation! It is a shame for the French Republic, an insult to our history and our traditions, an injury to the values of the France that we love.
You are the only Minister of the Interior to legislate twice in three years on immigration. Why a second law already? Why an immigration law again? Should we see in this compulsion the admission of the failure of the law of 2003?
The evaluation is difficult. Some implementing decrees have just been published, others are not yet. You want to fight illegal immigration, you say. Should we deduce from this that, under this five-year term, during which you have been Minister of the Interior twice, it would have increased alarmingly, despite your speeches and your firm instructions? The Senate commission of inquiry – which we regret was largely instrumentalized, since the bill on the validation of marriages and the bill on immigration were tabled without waiting for the conclusions of its work – , underlined the impossibility of quantifying illegal immigration and recognized that the problem concerns mainly and above all the overseas territories.
During his hearing on December 20, Patrick Weil, research director at the CNRS, explained not without humor: “Irregular immigration is a very difficult phenomenon to assess since we are already struggling to produce reliable statistics on legal immigration. It is obvious that the figures which are disseminated on illegal aliens are only estimates, and as I have just sworn to tell the whole truth, I will be careful not to give any, so as not to expose myself, mr president, to the sanctions you mentioned! “
Useless of a new law to promote labor immigration
Is it a matter of further opening up labor immigration? Admittedly, it has decreased since you took office despite your stated objectives in 2003, going from 8,800 in 2001 to 6,700 in 2004, according to the High Council for Integration.
If this is your goal, new text is not necessary. The government can, by simple instruction or circular to the services, and you know it, organize the arrival of foreign workers. In 1998, a circular was sufficient to allow French companies to recruit foreign IT specialists in order to prevent the IT bug of the transition to the year 2000. Since June 16, 2005, it is even you, as Minister of Interior, who have authority over the services that issue work permits.
Your intention is therefore elsewhere. For you, it is about opening up a new electoral offer to far-right voters, that of unprecedented restrictions on the right to family reunification and the right to asylum for foreigners. We denounce this gender confusion, especially as you use your ministerial responsibilities to outline electoral prospects. This will not facilitate, next year, your argument on the rupture. You will have a hard time convincing the public that you have no record of this government after having contributed so much to its legislative bulimia. We are here, Mr. Minister, in a foul-smelling area, but we are also here in the area of legislative inflation or billing laws recently denounced by the President of the Constitutional Council. ” Yes, I try to seduce the voters of the FN, I will even go look for them one by one, that does not bother me ”, you announced in Le Parisien of March 29. And you openly resumed, in front of your admirers gathered on April 22 in Paris, the slogans of Le Pen, themselves transpositions of the anathemas of the extreme right groups in the United States during the war in Viet Nam.
For a man who wants to be the embodiment of rupture, you are not therefore innovating. You even fit into a remarkable continuity. Twenty years ago, your friend Charles Pasqua said that the values of the right and those of the far right were the same. A few years later, comments about “the sounds and the smells” put immigration at the heart of the political debate. Since it pleases, why “shy away”, as you so often say? You do nothing other than follow in the footsteps of your spiritual fathers, and dig deeper in their footsteps. So stop presenting yourself as a new man: your ideas are out of date. They are those of the most conservative French right and your record, in this area as in others, is a failure.
Vous présentez donc un texte qui ne s’imposait pas, et, pire, que personne ne soutient. Vous le sauriez si vous aviez conduit les concertations nécessaires avant son élaboration. Et vous le savez, d’ailleurs, puisque les critiques émanent même de vos rangs. Jean-Louis Debré s’est montré circonspect, soulignant la nécessité de « ne pas courir après l’électorat le plus extrêmiste », et demandant un devoir d’ « humanité » envers « des gens qui souffrent et sont hélas obligés de quitter leur pays alors qu’ils voudraient y rester ». Notre collègue Etienne Pinte laisse entendre que ce projet n’était pas nécessaire, sauf à vouloir instrumentaliser le thème de l’immigration à des fins électoralistes. S’il accepte l’idée d’immigration choisie, il souhaite que soient préservées les garanties du droit d’asile et du regroupement familial. Plus de 300 organisations se sont regroupées au sein d’un « Collectif contre l’immigration jetable » pour défendre les droits fondamentaux que votre texte menace, combattre votre volonté de réduire l’étranger à sa force de travail, insister sur la nécessité de sécuriser des populations fragilisées. La plupart des syndicats dénoncent votre approche utilitaire et sécuritaire de l’immigration, l’instrumentalisation de ce débat et le risque de précarisation des immigrés soumis à l’arbitraire quand ils devraient être protégés par le droit. Le Conseil des Eglises chrétiennes enfin, ému par l’inhumanité de ce texte, regrette « la perspective utilitariste de cette réforme » puisque « seront acceptables en France les étrangers perçus comme nécessaires pour l’économie, la personne humaine et sa situation personnelle devenant secondaires et ses droits restreints ».
For someone who claims to bring France together in 2007, things are off to a bad start! Society is rightly concerned about the prospect of further toughening of the law, and the philosophy behind it. Indeed, this project is dangerous, because it is anti-republican.
France is honored to embody, since the Age of Enlightenment, the reference to moral and political values. It is, historically, a land of immigration and asylum. It was built on this principle. In an open world, in a living Europe, our country seems anachronistic and offbeat when it considers the question of immigration from the “Franco-French” angle, outside of a global and international reflection. The Socialist senators who took part in the senatorial inquiry committee expressed it perfectly in their contribution: “The amalgamation between asylum and immigration, between immigration and terrorism, between so-called illegal immigration and so-called regular immigration, constitutes a poison for our democracy. and a danger to the fundamental values of our Republic.
In this regard, the concept of “chosen” immigration is very shocking. Abdou Diouf recently explained in Le Progrès why he is “struck by a project that is politically and morally unacceptable”. He added: “I cannot accept that France says, unilaterally: I choose immigrants graduated from such and such a category, and all the others, I do not want them”. “Regulated” immigration, he stressed, would be preferable to “chosen” immigration.
And again, have you given up in the content of the law, the term “undergone” immigration, which no doubt was difficult to handle even in your ranks. But while this unfortunate formula has disappeared from the bill, it has not disappeared from your comments.
You claimed it in the press on February 5: “We no longer want undergone immigration, we want chosen immigration, that is the founding principle of the new immigration policy that I advocate. I know that this principle comes up against two fundamentals. The first, that of zero immigration defended by Le Pen. The second, that of those who believe that any immigration control carries with it the seeds of a form of racism. I accuse this fundamentalism of promoting extremism, because behind uncontrolled immigration, there is a signal risk of amalgamation, tensions and racism ”.
Nationalist and xenophobic logic
I note that you proudly assume this classification of immigrants. I also notice that you present yourself, once again, as the only one with solutions and the sole holder of the truth. I would add that I find it extremely shocking that among the two “fundamentals” that you denounce, the most shocking in your eyes is not that of the National Front. Finally, I accuse you of distorting the position of your opponents. Nobody refuses that immigration is controlled, nobody claims that France must welcome everyone, quite simply because it could not. What we are saying is that the necessary control of migratory flows must not lead to injustice and repression and that it can be carried out with respect for the values on which our republic is founded.
If you have erased the most offensive words from your speech, their meaning remains and your statements make them clear without any ambiguity. It is a question of stoking a xenophobic wind.
From the explanatory memorandum, the tone is set. The fight against illegal immigration is the first theme addressed, and when this text admits that “the integration of migrants into French society is insufficient”, it is clear that in your mind, the fault does not lie with the ‘State which would not fulfill its missions, but to immigrants.
I know you are under pressure from some of your friends, who flirt with the most obtuse nationalism and obscure xenophobia. A few weeks ago, I read with amazement the tribune signed by a UMP deputy in a weekly: “Thirty years of massive immigration, in continuous flow, encouraged by the complacency of the left and the paralyzing of the right, blew up the dikes of our national identity. A people who no longer know what they are, where they come from, no longer have a destiny ”. Without doubt, this parliamentarian will have drunk whey when he heard you regret having “to apologize for being French”.
This nationalist and xenophobic logic is not France, the one we love, proud of its history and its motto: “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”. This nationalist and xenophobic logic, we do not accept it, because we refuse to deny our identity, our principles, our values, which are those of the Republic.
Because what you are proposing is indeed a sorting, on elitist criteria, between “good” and “bad” immigrants, and quotas, even if they are renamed “multiannual quantitative objectives”. What you are proposing is to favor “good foreigners”, capable of bringing “skills” and influence to France. The “skills and talents” residence permit will be aimed at this category of “high-end” immigrants, a kind of immigration people, meeting utilitarian criteria. As for the concept of “undergone” immigration, it is humanly unacceptable. It leads us to consider as “suffered” all those who are different. This attitude reinforces communitarianism and individualism. We refuse to enter into a debate the terms of which are stated in this way. This is the meaning of our procedural motions,
Family immigration is not quantitatively excessive
Likewise, what you are fighting with your text is the right to live with your family. Admittedly, migration for family reasons has increased proportionally since the cessation of labor immigration in 1974. However, this family immigration is in no way excessive. The annual report of the Directorate of Population and Migration, made public last Wednesday, confirms this. According to this document, although immigration for family reasons is on the rise, involving 102,650 people in 2004, family reunification stricto sensu is decreasing: 25,429 people benefited from it, against 26,768 in 2003. By way of comparison, the entries for family reasons concerned more than 80,000 people each year in the 1980s.
Between an angelic policy and a policy of fear, there is room for a policy which respects the values of France and is nevertheless responsible. This is the one we stand for. We reject your abstract, technical, dehumanized approach to immigration, its presentation as a problem, the crystallization around this question, for purely electoral purposes, of the difficulties of French society. So talk to the French about the men, women, children, eager to come and work and live here, about the demand for solidarity that we have towards them, about our international commitments in terms of development, and stop casting suspicion on them. I recently met an association manager from whom your text tore this cry from the heart: “Human lives have nothing to do with these laws! “
In fact, Title II of the bill constitutes an unacceptable questioning of a number of fundamental rights: respect for private life, the right to lead a normal family life, dignity, right of asylum, best interests of the family. ‘child. It flouts essential rights over a whole range of areas that we will discuss during the debates. I will retain here essentially three that seem to me the most striking:
The freedom to marry. It is a fundamental freedom and the real obstacle course that you want to impose on spouses is scandalous. The use of marriage as a means of circumventing the regulations of the stay in France does exist, but there is not the massive fraud that you imply.
This suspicion was already found in the report by Mr. Mariani who noted last March “an apparently irresistible increase in mixed marriages”. Perhaps we could simply say that in our modern societies, mixed marriages can only develop.
In addition today, many children of immigrants born in France or who arrived through family reunification in the 1970s choose to marry in their country of origin, for cultural or religious reasons.
It is not a question of saying to them: “If you do not like France, leave it”, but of admitting that each one can have multicultural roots. Under your law, a foreigner married to a French spouse will no longer be certain of obtaining his residence permit after three years.
It is not only the foreigner who will be precarious, but also his French spouse, which you seem to forget. No other European country imposes this long-stay visa requirement for foreign spouses: France will therefore constitute an exception in Europe, while nothing justifies this special regime.
The right to family reunification . The restrictions you are introducing in this area show that suspicion and precariousness are the two pillars of your bill.
The questioning of this right is not justified by any reality, since the number of people concerned is decreasing.
Above all, it is inadmissible to impose income conditions calculated excluding family and social benefits. This tightening risks increasing illegal immigration because we cannot impose separation on a family.
Especially since people who enter illegally to find themselves cannot be sent back to their country since Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights will prohibit you from doing so.
In addition, the integration condition required for family reunification remains very imprecise as to its content and the methods of its verification.
Administrative arbitrariness runs the risk of replacing respect for the law.
The abolition of the permanent individual regularization system is one of the most serious regressions of this text. Here again, the disproportion between the “problem” and its treatment is striking, since the number of people regularized each year thanks to the current system is estimated between 2,500 and 3,000.
You speak, Mr. Minister, of a “clandestinity bonus”, when it is only a question of applying the principle of prescription recognized by French law.
This intransigence will result in worsening people’s precariousness, with all the consequences in terms of health, housing, social rights, which will ensue.
However, an immigrant, even if he entered France illegally, who succeeds in staying there for ten years, has in a certain way demonstrated his willingness to integrate by accepting this period of trial.
You don’t stay ten years in France without working, learning the language, forging links. Why go back today to a device that you even maintained in the 2003 law? Here again, France will stand out from comparable democratic countries.
In the United Kingdom, regularization is possible after 14 years of illegal residence, and after 7 years for families with children.
In Germany, the law passed in 2004 provides for a residence permit for humanitarian reasons and covers situations protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.
In Spain, any foreigner who has worked for one year can be regularized after two years of illegal residence and after three years in the case of a family link and if he can rely on a promise of employment.
The refusal of progressive regularizations creates “stocks”, as France experienced after the passage of Charles Pasqua to the Ministry of the Interior, as Spain and Italy have also experienced it and we know although the only solution is then to carry out massive regularizations which disorganize the administration and create a call for air that regularization over time prevents on the contrary.
This text was not necessary. He is dangerous. Finally, it will be ineffective. These measures will promote precariousness, clandestine work and illegality. By ensuring the fight against illegal immigration, it is immigrants in a regular situation that you will weaken.
All immigration specialists agree: this new legislation will swell the flow of foreigners in a precarious or irregular situation, thus creating a growing number of people who cannot be expelled or regularized, condemned to life imprisonment until what a massive regularization puts an end to this indignity. By tightening the living conditions of mixed couples and foreign families, what are you looking for?
You know that we do not permanently prevent a man or a woman from living with his spouse and his children. The families of foreigners who have arrived legally in France will continue to come, but illegally.
By pretending to fight against fraud, you will make it inevitable. Worse, the device you are planning will be legally inoperative, since when these spouses and children have reached France, the European Convention on Human Rights will protect them against expulsion. Catherine Vihtol de Wenden, director of research at the CNRS, explains quite rightly: “By toughening the rules, we develop clandestinity. It is not too lax a policy, but an overly restrictive policy that creates illegality. When the borders are open, people move around, go back and forth, when the borders are closed, they stabilize ”.
Mr. Minister, the Maginot lines are powerless. Your record is there to remind you. The 2003 law, although very restrictive, did not have the effects you expected. However, the treatment of immigration does not call for this permanent politicization, this controversy that you maintain on purpose. Because finally, we wonder what problem you want to solve. Immigration has been stable in France for several decades. What would be useful today, instead of an unwarranted new law, would be to worry about the administration of immigration. What is lacking are resources, an administrative impetus, a good organization of the immigration services. Your role as Minister of the Interior should inspire you to ensure this. But this is less publicized than the fever generated by artificial debates.
Your muscular methods are hardly more efficient. As proof of this, I take the fiasco that resulted in the closure of Sangatte, when you claimed to settle the refugee problem. Since then, it is horror.
Sangatte, Ceuta, Mellila: no wall can stop despair and misery
The living conditions in the center were, of course, deplorable. Outside the center, they are catastrophic. The wanderings of illegal immigrants aroused a movement of solidarity from the people of Calais, some of whom were also the subject of criminal proceedings for acts of simple humanity. A few days ago, the local press relayed the feelings of the employees of the city of Calais occupied with the operations of cleaning the Bois Dubrulle, a space of trees located in an industrial zone, in which the candidates for immigration in Grande Brittany lived, I quote “La Voix du Nord”, “in the midst of rats, fleas and rubbish, under makeshift shelters”. “Life in the garbage, that is in a few words how the daily life of migrants in an irregular situation could be summed up”, describes the article. The author of the article continues: “Squats have been eradicated, of course, but others are already pushing a few hundred meters further. Insidiously, the makeshift shelters and their numerous occupants stand out as the symbol of the failure of the State in the fight against illegal immigration to Calais ”.
Likewise, the deaths in the enclaves of Ceuta and Mélilla, in the fall of 2005, also showed that the construction of walls is ineffective and that only effective international cooperation, and European coordination in particular, can provide answers to challenges. migratory movements that globalization makes more and more natural. When a man or a woman wants to flee his country, he is ready to pay any price, even that of his life.
No wall can stop despair and misery. Public opinion was moved, in October 2005, by these “new barbed wire at the gates of Europe”, on which thousands of sub-Saharan migrants are torn and sometimes died. What do you answer, Mr. Minister, and what do we all answer, because we are all concerned, to these stories of men slashing their flesh to cross barbed wire beyond which the Spanish police, possibly a center, are sure to await them. of detention, and finally what for them already tastes of freedom, the status of non-expellable person who claims to come from nowhere? The press had taken up at the time the story of a young man from Burkina Faso, to whom one explained that Europe was not a promised land, and who answered: “The suffering at home and that from our home, it is not the same. In Mélilla, I breathe freedom, I am no longer afraid, even if I can be stopped ”.
This inability to block immigration by force is also the observation made by the American authorities today. The vote by the House of Representatives, on December 16, of a bill which notably provides for the construction of a wall covering a third of the route of the southern border of the United States, provoked the emotion of the community. Hispanic and a political debate close to that which opposes us today. As in France, no one disputes the need to fight illegal immigration, but 70% of the American population is in favor of illegal immigrants who have a job in the United States being able to stay there with a long-term visa. The churches also mobilized in favor of the immigrants as they had not done since the movement against the segregation of the blacks in the Sixties ”.
Nous n’en sommes pas, en France, à nous retrancher derrière des murs ou des clôtures, et pourtant, c’est une sorte de mur juridique que vous essayez d’édifier aujourd’hui. Il sera inutile et même contre-productif, non seulement parce qu’il créera trop d’injustices, mais surtout parce que l’abus de répression aboutit à des effets exactement inverses aux objectifs affichés.
Repression downstream of immigration is inevitably ineffective and above all inhuman. It signals the failure of the necessary control of the phenomenon, which must above all be conceived upstream, through concerted policies and reinforced cooperation. There is no point in closing your eyes or multiplying obstacles. The world is opening up to the movement of people, and this increasingly interdependent world lends itself less than ever to barriers. Only concerted policies will provide the appropriate solutions: by addressing the issue of sharing wealth on a global scale, by strengthening official development assistance, by increasing direct investment, by establishing fair trade rules. The instruments exist, at the level of the European Union and at the international level, in order to build a fairer and more democratic world. The rest is a matter of political will. It will be long, but more useful than resorting to the law of the strongest to send back to their misery human beings whose only fault is to have been born on the wrong side of the planet.
With this text, the question of the need to welcome and integrate foreigners who choose France is badly posed, and posed at the wrong time. Worse, your law will divide, weaken, where it is necessary to unite, to secure. You put the Republic in danger: it is not the role of a Minister of the Interior! That is why, on behalf of the Socialist Group, I invite my colleagues to vote on this inadmissibility.