Open Letter From the UCIJ to Parliamentarians

“Immigration, Integration and Nationality” bill

Appeal to the conscience and responsibility of parliamentarians


When you are going to make the decision to vote or reject the “Immigration, Integration and Nationality” bill, the associative, political and trade union organizations of the UCIJ (United against disposable immigration) solemnly invite you to the reflection.

Indeed, this is not a banal reform of the regulations relating to foreigners but a turning point in favor of which France is establishing permanent emergency regimes against foreigners and renouncing the principle of equality of human beings enshrined in the Constitution and in all the international texts which, in the aftermath of the Second World War, endeavored to prohibit State racism.

However, the bill takes this step. If you approve of it, you will also approve of many discriminations based on origin. You are calling into question the very foundations of our Republic and its Constitution. Your vote strongly engages France and will be watched by the entire people, from whom you derive the legitimacy of your mandate.

We wish to draw your attention to the most intolerable points of this project

A neutralization of justice to better deport

Can you accept without batting an eyelid that foreigners can be removed without their situation having been examined by a judicial judge, protector of individual freedoms?

This is what the government is planning when it provides that foreigners placed in detention will not see the liberty and detention judge until five days (48 hours today) after being deprived of their liberty. Insofar as it will be possible to drive them back to the border as soon as the administrative judge decides, who will have previously ruled on the legality of the removal measure, many removals will be carried out without any appearance and control by the judge. judicial.

This situation assigns foreigners awaiting removal in an exceptional situation compared to all other litigants who, in the event of deprivation of their freedom to come and go, have the right to rapid control by a judicial body of the merits of this administrative decision.

This neutralization of judicial guarantees by the government is consistent with the “productivist” pressure that it continues to exert on the police or the prefects in matters of removal. To “make numbers”, he must eliminate all the brakes at will. Don’t you find it worrying that this frenzy goes so far as to dismiss the judicial judge who is constitutionally the guardian of individual freedoms?

Europeans less European than others: the poor

It will not have escaped your notice that certain Europeans are in the government’s sights. A new provision prohibits passing Europeans from “becoming” an unreasonable burden on the social assistance system. Today, this injunction is only addressed to Europeans living in France. The 2004 Directive on the right of Union citizens and members of their families to move and reside freely provides that it is possible to “restrict the freedom of movement and residence of a Union citizen or of a member of his family, whatever his nationality, for reasons of public order, public security or public health ”. But that “these reasons cannot be invoked for economic ends” (art. 27).

It is obvious that it is the poor Europeans who are targeted, primarily the Roma from Bulgaria and Romania. But not only. Nothing shows this better than another provision according to which can be expelled Europeans whose “stay constitutes an abuse of rights”, namely the renewals of stay of less than three months “with the aim of remaining on the territory when the conditions required for a stay of more than three months are not met ”. Abuse of rights also corresponds to “stay in France for the essential purpose of benefiting from the emergency accommodation system”.

Conclusion: whatever their nationality, the enemy targeted by the entire bill is basically the poor. In a world where the poor are the majority, is it realistic to open borders only to the haves or to those who would be economically profitable (chosen immigration) and to close them to those who need us? Does not this discrimination introduced in the limitation of freedom of movement for certain Europeans on the basis of their real or supposed material income correspond to a census-based conception of Europe? Other reforms, which had the same goals, have amply shown their impotence.

Patients sent back to countries where care is inaccessible to them

In all conscience, will you accept that France can refuse a residence permit to seriously ill foreigners living on its territory, and therefore deport them at one time or another, even though they come from countries where we are knows that care is inaccessible?

Are you going to pass a law that will seriously affect the right to life of these people and the health of populations?

The bill, in fact, provides that the stay will now be authorized only for patients “whose state of health requires medical care, the failure of which could lead to consequences of exceptional gravity for him, subject to the inexistence of an appropriate treatment in the country of origin ”, whereas currently it is necessary that this patient“ cannot effectively benefit from a treatment ”in this country. You can clearly see the difference: if you approve the text, the existence of a single healthcare establishment in the country will exempt France from all coverage, even if it is well known that the healthcare offer is not available in sufficient quantity or that health facilities are inaccessible for reasons of distance or cost. The Council of State (April 7, 2010),

You don’t have to be a lawyer to consider this change in the law to be humanly monstrous in that it coldly condemns to death a certain number of people who, although they are foreigners, are nonetheless human beings. Unless it is no longer so?

Deprivation of nationality: calling into question the equality of all citizens

Does it seem admissible to you to multiply the hypotheses of forfeiture of French nationality against naturalized French people?

You know very well that this gives credence to the idea that the “native French” are more French than the “French” by acquisition, and that the “blood rights” thus prevail over the “right of the soil”.

Deprivation of nationality is an ineffective and anti-republican measure. It is ineffective because no penalty is dissuasive. The function of the penalty is to sanction and to repair. It is anti-republican because, by establishing a hierarchy between the French, it calls into question the legal community founded by the people: one and indivisible. There can be no categories of French subject to different rights and penalties. To adopt such a provision is to go back to the 1930s, when there were many hypotheses of forfeiture, a path on which Vichy then rushed.

In a related register, the bill imposes new requirements of “assimilation” to candidates for French nationality. If the term “assimilation” has been used for a long time in the Civil Code, today it is preferred that of “integration”. It designates France’s capacity to accept differences. Are you not worried about this conceptual regression, an indication of a withdrawal into a supposed “national identity”?

Even expel foreigners in a legal situation?

Will you pass up the possibility for the prefects to escort to the border (expel) foreigners who have held residence permits for less than three years because they are “liable to criminal prosecution” (therefore not necessarily prosecuted or convicted? ) for various offenses including “illegal occupation of public or private land”?

This means that, for foreigners, the legality of the stay is, once acquired, not a right. It becomes a loan. When he was Minister of the Interior, Mr. Sarkozy had declared himself opposed to the “double penalty”: in the name of equality, one should not add a discriminatory expulsion to the conviction of foreigners whose existence was established in France. And then we could send back to their country of origin foreigners who have been given a residence permit. Are you not troubled by this contradiction? Don’t you think that, under the pretext of fighting insecurity, the government is still offering you something that makes you think of apartheid?

Think about another contradiction as well. In the bill, various provisions strengthen the integration requirements for access to residence or nationality. Do you think that the threat of expulsion will facilitate the integration of foreigners regularized for less than three years?

Legal fictions to ban entry into France and penalize asylum seekers

Are you going to let the State invent fictions, that is to say situations unrelated to reality (in other words lies), to prevent the admission into France of foreigners who are supposed to have recently crossed its borders?

The government asks you for the right to consider that foreigners discovered anywhere on the national territory, including in the Massif Central, would be at the border, provided that they constitute a group of at least ten people and that one can assume – without any certainty – that they have just arrived. Under these conditions, they would be treated as if they were at the border and liable to be placed in a “waiting zone”, this already fictitious space invented in 1992 since, although in France, it is a question of ‘a space artificially defined as outside French territory, which makes it possible to reduce the rights of those who are locked up there.

First remark: one fiction calls for others. Since 1992, the waiting zones have been fixed and, when the administration wants to create a new one, it must take a regulatory decision. With the invention of the elastic waiting zone, there is no longer even a need for decisions. Any space is potentially transformable at any time into a waiting area by a simple police statement. Are you asking yourself if France is not becoming a police state in this way?

Second remark: it will not have escaped you that the invention of this “backpack border” was born from the arrival, in January 2010, of 123 Kurds from Syria who landed in Corsica to seek asylum. You know that Syria does not recognize the citizenship of these Kurds who suffer from notorious persecution. The government therefore invites you to deny access to asylum to foreigners persecuted at home. If you vote for this provision, you know that it will apply in particular to Afghans, Eritreans, Iraqis, Sudanese, etc., hunted down from the Italian border to Calais. In short, it is a question of turning back, before having examined their situation, foreigners in search of protection. Do you really want this obvious cheating on international asylum obligations?

Asylum that we invite you to weaken further by other provisions on the grounds that the increase in the number of applicants is due to abuse and misuse of international protection. However, all the new measures which are submitted for your approval (in particular the setting of a deadline for requesting legal aid before the National Court of Asylum) have in common that they artificially complicate the conditions for examining their situation. Clearly, it is about preventing asylum seekers from explaining the reasons for their fears. Is this a fair way to legislate on asylum?

From a manically sophisticated alienation to the establishment of banishment

You may have jumped when you read the term “frenzy” above. But what other word to say when reading the bill in the area of ​​expulsion? Have you counted the number of new provisions which tend to lock up aliens and their defenders in a labyrinth of pitfalls which all have in common to increase the speed of their expulsion and deprive them of the right to defend themselves?

Have you wondered what the use of extending the detention period from 32 to 45 days? Admittedly, this extension is allowed by the so-called “return” Directive of the European Union (relating to the common standards and procedures applicable in the Member States to the return of illegally staying third-country nationals). Have you questioned the experts for whom this lengthening is useless? Most removals occur, in fact, during the first week of detention. Beyond that, it is a punishment. However, detention is not punitive internment. This is a deviation from the law.

Doesn’t the reinstatement of the “ban” – the bill calls it a “return ban” – for two to five years at European level trouble you? It can be expected that extensive use will be made of it. This will result in such desperation that revolts, self-mutilations and suicides in detention will inevitably increase, as well as resistance to boarding. Asylum seekers will no longer be able to return, including in the event of a crisis in their country.

Another cause of despair: the whole system considerably limits the possibilities of regularization. Anyone who has not executed an expulsion decision will have no chance of obtaining a residence permit, regardless of their personal situation or the length of their stay in France. Are you aware that all this will contribute to increasing the number of undocumented migrants, moonlighting and poverty?

Overseas overseas

As usual, Overseas is an exceptional land. The bill confirms that deportable foreigners are deprived of a suspensive appeal against deportation decisions. Only a summary filed in record time can (rarely) make up for this deficiency.

Derogations also from the standards in force elsewhere in terms of stops and vehicle checks. The bill extends the exceptional regime already applied in Guyana (almost all of the inhabited territory) and Guadeloupe (in an area between the coast and a line drawn one kilometer below) to Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin.

In all these territories, the following are lawful: a) summary inspections of vehicles, with the exception of private cars, “with a view to investigating and recording offenses relating to entry and stay” and immobilizing the vehicle for four hours in awaiting instructions from the prosecutor; b) a specific sanction for the offense of “assisting the entry or stay of foreigners” by the “neutralization of any means essential to the operation” of land vehicles and aircraft having served to commit an offense against this offense when there are no other technical measures to prevent the repetition of the infringement (art. L. 622-10 of the CESEDA).

Wouldn’t the simplest and fairest thing be to remove all these specificities of the law of foreigners in the Overseas Territories which allow them to be challenged and removed without even benefiting from the (too weak) legislative protections in force in metropolitan France?

* *

We could have pointed out to you many other disturbing provisions. It seemed essential to us to invite you to a personal reflection on the basis of some particularly revealing points of what we consider to be a drift and even a turning point. The inequality of rights between French and foreigners is not new. What is new is its systematization and its extension to fundamental rights: hindrance to effective access to the judge protecting individual freedoms at a time of expulsion; access to care for the sick; calling into question of nationality, indirect infringements of the right of asylum; etc.

The bill defended by Mr. Besson must arouse particular vigilance on your part. It reinforces the policy of migratory deterrence in a brutal way and without more effectiveness than with the previous reforms. This orientation, for us reprehensible in itself, exposes France to European and international criticism, as we have just seen on the occasion of the selective expulsions of Roma. We hope that, even if you do not share all of our criticisms, you do not want France to end up being ostracized from the rule of law.

As a parliamentarian who is free to choose, since according to the Constitution no imperative mandate can bind you, your choices can only be dictated to you by your conscience.

It is in this hope that we have written to you.

For a more detailed analysis of the government’s initial project

 Collective analysis of the “Besson” bill of March 30, 2010 “relating to immigration, integration and nationality”

ADDE, Acat France, Anafé, CFDA, Cimade, Fasti, Gisti, InfoMIE, Migreurop, MOM, Association Primo Levi, SAF, Syndicat de la magistrature

 UCIJ: Why we must fight the Besson bill “relating to immigration, integration and nationality”

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