Ladies and Gentlemen,
For five weeks, the bill relating to immigration and integration has been in your hands.
I would like to tell you in what state of mind I approach the discussion which opens today before the national representation.
My conviction is that, in a modern democracy, immigration should not be a taboo issue.
In all the countries of Western Europe, immigration is considered for what it is: a social issue, a major political issue, engaging the future of a nation. It is allowed to debate it, without having to apologize. And it is permissible to act, not being afraid, if necessary, to put the trade back on the job several times.
For example, Tony Blair’s Labor government has reformed UK asylum and immigration law four times. Spain has changed its law three times since 2000. A profound reform of the German system, conceived by the social democratic government of Mr Schröder, entered into force on January 1, 2005. In these large European countries, the reform of the immigration gave rise to a confrontation of projects, a real debate of ideas, both passionate and rational: a fully democratic and political debate.
This debate, I want it to also take place in our country, because the French are waiting for it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the French ask us to look reality in the face.
Twenty-eight nights of riots, product of integration breakdown
Never has the gap been so great between the discourse of certain elites and the realities perceived by our compatriots. We must not hide these realities from ourselves. A SOFRES poll published by “Le Monde” in December 2005 showed that 63% of French people believe that there are too many immigrants in France. 50% of left-wing voters think so too.
I am convinced that the vast majority of our compatriots are neither racist nor xenophobic. But for many of them, immigration is a source of concern. They see it as a threat to their security, their jobs, their way of life.
The French who think this way are as respectable as the others. We must understand the expectations of this silent majority, for whom immigration is first and foremost a daily reality.
Our compatriots know that immigration has immense advantages for the life of the city. In the exchange with the migrant, there is the learning of diversity, the taste for difference, the sense of tolerance. There is the best. But there is also the worst, produced by thirty years of unmanaged immigration: ghetto cities, squatts, gang phenomena, urban violence!
The French know that the violence that broke out in our suburbs last fall is not unrelated to the failure of the immigration and integration policy.
The truth is that the twenty-seven nights of riots we endured in October and November are the direct product of the breakdown of our integration system!
The truth is that the grandchildren of immigrants who arrived in the 1960s are French, but they often feel less French than their grandparents, who were not!
The truth is that the foreigners most recently arrived in our country are the first victims, alas, of our collective inability to control immigration. I am thinking, of course, of the fires of August 25 and 29, 2005, in Paris, which caused the death of 24 people from Africa. I remember those children that I saw that night, lying on stretchers, asphyxiated, killed by poverty.
The truth is that entire immigrant families are housed in squats or slums, and their children, who cannot do their homework in cramped housing, are often left to fend for themselves on the streets. !
Faced with this reality, the French no longer support, I am convinced, the frontal political oppositions which have absolutely no meaning.
They refuse to be prisoners of two extremisms: zero immigration on the one hand, total immigration on the other.
Refusal of global regularizations
Zero immigration is a dangerous myth. I strongly reject the usual cliché of far-right movements, according to which there are cultures “impossible to integrate”, and which preach the totally false concept of zero immigration. It is time to speak clearly: France is not intended to be folded in on itself, behind who knows what Maginot line! Inbreeding would be synonymous with national decline.
But I do not accept the other extremism any more than the intolerance and unrealism of zero immigration advocates. I do not believe that men are interchangeable, that borders are illegitimate, and that we can wipe out our past and our culture.
This is why I refuse, with the greatest firmness, the operations of global regularization of undocumented foreigners, as the governments of François Mitterrand and Lionel Jospin carried out them in 1981, 1990 and 1997. These operations are very dangerous, because they have a draft effect. The regularized migrant brings his family. He tells his friends in his village that emigration to France is possible. Sectors are created. And, in the countries of origin, the signal is well received: the border is open!
The Spaniards know this well, who regularized 570,000 illegal immigrants in the first half of 2005. This only encourages the thousands of unfortunate African migrants who cross the Sahara in the hope of obtaining papers in Spain, before running up against barbed wire from Ceuta and Mellila. Regularization gives rise to illegal migration.
The Italians know it too, who regularize hundreds of thousands of people every two or three years. But more and more come in. And we must therefore regularize even more …
Make no mistake about it: the regularizations decided in France for 25 years have contributed a lot to the confusion and disorder. Renewing these practices would considerably weaken our social pact.
I know France is too fragile to undergo this ordeal. This does not mean that I am hostile to any regularization: I will come back to this during our debates. But I refuse, with total determination, false solutions dictated by simplicity and blindness.
I suggest that you get out of this hopeless debate between the two extremisms from above.
For the first time under the Fifth Republic, a minister is responsible for all immigration issues. Responsible for coordinating the various competent administrations in this field (interior, foreign affairs, social affairs), I have been able to prepare, since last June, the text which is submitted to you today.
I do not pretend to present you with a perfect text, which should be adopted as it is.
But I am convinced that I am presenting you with a balanced text.
Close to those who do not respect the rules of the game. And fair to people who ask to come to France by following the admission rules that we set.
It is in this spirit that we must maintain the balance defined in 2003 during the debate on the reform of the “double penalty”.
The demand for justice leads me, in the same way, to not wish any questioning of the provisions concerning the stay of sick foreigners . I will not accept any amendment which would modify the balanced legislation that we have today on this point, even if I will have the opportunity to explain that it is up to us, without changing the law, to fight against fraud.
The best proof of the balance of the bill, it seems to me, is that it is the subject of virulent attacks, both from the extreme right, which accuses me of laxity, that of certain fringes of the left, which accuse me of xenophobia.
In a way, I welcome these reviews. They indicate that I have undoubtedly charted a middle course.
I will not deviate from the line I have drawn.
Righting the helm of a drifting ship
My determination is total: for four years, I have tried to straighten the helm of a drifting ship.
In May 2002, the situation I found when I arrived at the Ministry of the Interior was dire. France was paying the price for hazardous management of immigration. It was time to get out of the carelessness.
Asylum requests had quadrupled in five years: from 20,000 in 1997 to 82,000 in 2002. The Roissy waiting area overflowed on all sides. The Sangatte hangar presented itself, throughout Europe, throughout the world, as the shameful symbol of French migratory chaos. And no interior minister had seen fit to go there!
Regular immigration flows had increased by a third in five years: 120,000 in 1997 to 160,000 in 2002.
In four years, a considerable work of putting in order has been accomplished.
By passing the law of November 26, 2003, you gave the Government new tools to fight against irregular immigration.
I will not take stock of it today, because you know it. The evaluation of the law was conducted by your excellent rapporteur, Mr. Thierry Mariani, in a remarkable document that he presented to you last March.
I will only remind you that the number of deportations executed has doubled in three years: from 10,000 in 2002 to 20,000 in 2005.
Yes, we do not hesitate, unlike our predecessors, to uphold the law.
In principle, a foreigner in an irregular situation is not intended to stay in France. He has a vocation to return to his country.
We have given ourselves the means to better enforce these rules of common sense.
The increase in the number of removals was made possible by the construction of administrative detention centers (968 places in June 2002, 1,447 places today, 2,500 places in June 2007) and by the extension of the period of detention. (increased from 12 to 32 days maximum).
I was not afraid to set quantitative targets for removal. Month after month, prefecture by prefecture, I follow these indicators.
I ensure that the immigration administration obeys, on the ground, the political will expressed by the legislator in 2003.
The generalization of the system of ” biometric visas ” is the other key measure which was able to be implemented thanks to the law of 2003.
In the countries of origin, our consuls issue 1,900,000 short-stay visas each year. It is obvious that a part of these visas are diverted by people who, introduced regularly in France, remain there irregularly. The system of “biometric visas” makes it possible to know the identity and the nationality of those who, as if by chance, have lost their memory …
Extended to all consulates by the end of 2007, this system facilitates removal measures, by identifying illegal aliens and their nationality. I would add that vigorous diplomatic actions allow us today, better than yesterday, to obtain from certain foreign consuls that they deliver to their nationals the laissez-passer which allows us to send them home.
Another encouraging result: the overall flow of regular immigration has stabilized for the first time in ten years. The number of first residence permits issued, excluding Community nationals, even dropped slightly in 2005, to reach 164,234 permits (- 2%).
I would add that the reform of the right to asylum , which you voted for with the law of December 10, 2003, had very positive effects.
We remain true to our tradition of welcoming refugees. But we are fighting against procedural abuse.
The reform has made it possible to greatly reduce the time taken to examine asylum applications and, consequently, the attractiveness of this procedure for applicants for illegal immigration.
The deadlines have dropped from more than two years in 2002 to eight months today. Consequently, the total number of applicants fell: 82,000 in 2002, 65,000 in 2004, 60,000 in 2005. It continues to decrease in 2006. If the trend observed over the first two months of 2006 is confirmed, this year we will register 15,000 less asylum applications than last year.
These few figures show that our action since 2002 has made it possible to restore order to a migratory system which had become completely chaotic.
But I do not display any triumphalism. Despite the progress made, the immigration situation in France is far from satisfactory.
Very unbalanced flows
The flows remain at a high level. They are, above all, very unbalanced.
The immigration “for family reasons ” occupies a very important place in migration: nearly half of residence cards are issued in this respect (82 000 in 2005). Among our European partners, the level of family immigration is much lower: 66,000 in Germany and 35,000 in Great Britain in 2004.
Let me be understood correctly: I am not saying that an immigrant should not have the right to bring his family to France. I am too attached to our humanist tradition, to the constitutional principle of protection of family life as well as to our European commitments, to challenge a father’s right to live with his wife and children!
But I would like things to be clear: it is up to the political power, the Government, the legislator, to define the conditions under which the right to private and family life applies in France! There cannot be, for all families around the world, an absolute and unconditional right to settle in France, without an integration project, without work, without decent housing, without prospects.
The distribution of migratory flows is all the more illogical in our country as immigration for work reasons remains at a marginal level: 11,500 residence permits issued in this capacity in 2005. Which means that we are not capable of ” welcome migrants to France who have a job and who contribute to growth.
We have, in fact, been immersed in a totally paradoxical system for 30 years.
Under the pretext of protecting national employment, a system of a priori checks carried out by the labor administration has blocked the introduction into France of foreigners who are employed. And at the same time, against all logic, we allow a growing flow of family immigration to enter our country – which strongly unbalances the labor market, by bringing foreigners, most of the time very unskilled and poorly qualified, to our country. integrated!
This system is absurd. This is, I believe, an essential source of the French malaise. My whole ambition is to get out of it as quickly as possible.
My desire is to profoundly transform immigration policy.
I am not afraid to say it, to those who reproach me for coming to Parliament a second time to present a bill: I am well aware that the 2003 law was only the first step the transformation of our immigration policy.
In 2003, as Minister of the Interior, I asked you to vote for new instruments to fight illegal immigration. I have made a determined use of it since then.
Found a new policy
Today, Minister responsible for all aspects of immigration, I suggest that you found a new policy.
This new policy is inspired by a few foreign examples. In Canada, UK, Germany, Netherlands, innovative ideas have been tested and implemented. I wanted to take this into account. Not to copy this or that foreign system, but to retain ideas that seem to me to be able to be adapted to our country. History and geography have shaped our relationship with immigration. We are not a continent-state like Canada, nor an island like England. We are a Mediterranean State, which has special links with Africa and which looks far away, towards the overseas territories and French-speaking lands.
For us, therefore, it is not a question of transposing a foreign example to France, but of defining, together, a new French model of immigration.
I suggest that you define this model on the basis of three fundamental principles:
• chosen immigration, • affirmation of a link between integration and immigration, • co-development.
The first principle is that of chosen immigration .
I claim this expression. I know it has sometimes been caricatured.
My conviction is that, like all the great democracies in the world, France must be able to choose the number of migrants it welcomes, according to what objectives, under what conditions.
Selected immigration is the opposite of no immigration. And it is also the opposite of the immigration undergone – undergone by the French and undergone by migrants who only find failure in France.
Selected immigration is therefore, first of all, the possibility for the State to set quantified immigration objectives to determine the composition of migratory flows, in the interest of France as well as in that of countries of origin.
The chosen immigration is the refusal of fate and the determined will to link immigration to the reception capacities of our country.
Selected immigration is a system whose rules are clear and predictable, for the French as well as for migrants. It is a system where the candidate for immigration to France must be authorized to come and settle there, before entering our territory.
Nothing could be more logical than that: to come and settle in France, to come to study, work or join his family, the Republic must agree and clearly signify to the migrant, in his country, that ‘she is ready to welcome him.
Selected immigration is therefore not an elitist system which would only accept extremely qualified foreigners in France!
Selected immigration is regulated immigration, which is all the better accepted by our compatriots as they will be aware of its positive contribution to the life of our nation.
And this immigration will only be successful, in fact, if the immigrants manage to integrate into the host society.
A close link between immigration and integration
This is the second principle of this reform: the affirmation of a close link between integration and immigration.
In this regard, I want to break with decades of pretense.
Experts, so-called such, still dare to assert that immigration and integration issues must be separated. In order not to “stigmatize” the new arrivals, we are told, it would be important not to consider them as migrants and to take them into account, at best, in the framework of city policy.
It does not mean anything.
My philosophy is quite different: for me, there is no doubt that immigration and integration are two closely intertwined issues.
And this, for an obvious reason: bringing a large number of migrants into France without giving oneself the means to welcome them, to organize their integration into French society, leads to explosive situations.
Integration is a long, complex, costly process which brings into play the balances of our social pact.
What we want is to force foreigners who want to settle permanently or permanently in France to make the necessary efforts to integrate.
I ask the question: how could one hope to integrate in France without speaking a word of French? How to find a job, organize a social life, raise your children? It’s impossible, of course!
From now on, to obtain a lasting right to stay, it will be necessary to show one’s desire to integrate, by making the necessary effort to learn our language.
It will also be necessary, to say the least, to commit to respecting the laws and values of the Republic.
And it will be necessary to respect this commitment.
Foreigners have rights. They also have homework.
The first of these duties is to love the country that welcomes them, and to respect its values and its laws. Otherwise, nothing forces them to stay there!
True co-development strategy
The third principle of the reform is that France’s immigration policy must be part of a real strategy of co-development.
To choose immigration, to succeed in integration, France must build real partnerships with the countries of origin.
It would be a major strategic error to define immigration policy in isolation, without regard for the countries of origin.
Obviously, migrants are pushed to our country because they have the hope of a better life and because they are convinced that their future cannot be built in the country where they were born.
I am fully aware of it.
And I would like to respond, in advance, to some objections made to me. I have read or heard criticisms that the bill would have the effect of encouraging a “brain drain” from the poorest countries.
It is not so.
Today, the most competent, the most talented migrants leave for the American continent while the less trained are welcomed in Europe. According to the European Commission: “54% of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa with a university degree reside in Canada and the United States, while 87% of those without not completed their primary or secondary education can be found in Europe “.
I do not resolve myself to this situation.
France has long maintained a tradition of welcoming elites from southern countries. I wish to renew this tradition, based on dialogue and mutual interest between the country of origin and the host country.
I therefore suggest that you facilitate the arrival in France of students and personalities (artists, intellectuals, sportsmen, job creators, etc.) who will be able to bring their talents to our country and acquire, in return, experience useful to them. native country.
My ambition is to develop mobility, the circulation of skills, in the very interest of developing countries.
This requires making different immigration choices depending on the geographic area.
We must therefore equip ourselves with tools to act in a flexible, intelligent, responsive manner, adapted to the realities of France and the various countries of origin.
To put it another way: welcoming a few Chinese engineers or Indian computer scientists to France will certainly not slow down the phenomenal growth of these two countries, the most populous on the planet. I therefore do not see in the name of what it would be necessary to refrain from recruiting Chinese engineers in France! And there is no need to make this recruitment conditional on the engineers returning to China after a few years of stay in France.
On the other hand, I am resolutely hostile, for example, to any form of permanent immigration of doctors and medical professionals from the poorest countries in Africa, who need them so much. My objective is therefore to help train the elites of developing countries with a view to a return.
The bill I am proposing tries to organize this “circulation of skills”.
But I am fully aware that it does not provide France, on its own, with all the tools necessary for an ambitious co-development policy.
In this regard, we must act in a pragmatic manner, partly through legislation, but also by mobilizing diplomatic and financial instruments, with pragmatism.
It is in this spirit that I will be going to Africa at the end of the month.
The experiments that I launched in Mali in 2003 enabled several hundred immigrants, who returned to their country, to launch an activity, to create jobs. We must, I am convinced, equip ourselves with new co-development tools. The mobilization of migrants’ savings for investment purposes seems to me to be an essential issue. Today, the savings that migrants settled in France transfer to their countries reach the sum of 2.6 billion euros each year. We must think about the means of transforming this savings, to direct it towards productive investment in the countries of origin.
We must use our imagination, building real partnerships with the countries of origin, without fear of tackling the issue of migration directly and frankly with them.
We need the new legal instruments defined by the bill.
Compliance with constitutional requirements and five objectives
I want to stress that we have been very careful that, as is the duty of any Republican, the bill meets constitutional requirements. As presented to you, subject to some editorial changes, the project is the one approved by the General Assembly of the Council of State.
It is therefore that this text ignores neither fundamental rights nor public freedoms!
It pursues five objectives.
Our first objective : to regain a quantitative control of immigration.
New instruments will allow us to better regulate migratory flows.
To see clearly, you must first plan. This is why, from now on, the Government will define each year, in a report to Parliament, quantified objectives on the number of migrants that France wishes to welcome, by distinguishing the main categories of residence permits, by reason: work, studies, family stay.
The recent jurisprudence of the Constitutional Council does not allow us to expressly include in the law that the report to Parliament will include such objectives, since they are not normative but only provisional. So, on behalf of the Government, I am making a solemn commitment to the national representation: the next report to Parliament will for the first time include these forecast quantitative objectives.
It is not a question of defining “ceilings” which would be imposed on each consul or each prefect and which could not be exceeded. This rigidity would hardly make sense.
On the other hand, defined according to the demographic situation of France, its growth prospects, the needs of the labor market and its reception capacities, the quantitative objectives will constitute a useful “dashboard” which will allow administrations to have operational references. The ambassadors will make this one of the elements of their dialogue with the governments of the countries of origin.
In the same spirit, the bill affirms that the issuance of a long-stay visa, by a consulate, becomes the prerequisite for immigration to France. This is a fundamental principle: without a long-stay visa issued by a consul, there cannot be, with some exceptions, a residence permit issued by a prefect.
Consequently, I intend to reform the conditions under which a foreigner who has not obtained a visa and who remains illegally in France can, exceptionally, obtain a residence permit.
I therefore suggest that you repeal the system of automatic regularizations after 10 years of illegal residence. This “underground bonus”, introduced by the laws of 1997 and 1998, amounts to rewarding a prolonged violation of the law of the Republic. It is all the more absurd as the ten-year period is not, in itself, a relevant regularization criterion.
I will have the opportunity to explain that the abolition of automatic regularizations does not, on the contrary, prevent regularizations on a case-by-case basis, to take into account humanitarian situations and the interests of our country.
Our second objective is to redefine the conditions for family immigration .
I invite you to reform the rules of family reunification, in the service of a specific objective: to ensure that all the conditions are met so that the family can integrate into our society.
This reform applies first of all to the family reunification procedure. A migrant who wishes to bring his family will have to stay regularly in France for at least 18 months and no longer one year, which is essential to prepare for the arrival of his spouse and children.
He will have to prove that he conforms to the principles which govern the French Republic – and in doing so, he will have to demonstrate his willingness to integrate into the society that welcomes him.
He must be able to provide for the needs of his family through the resources of his work alone and not from social benefits.
He must also have decent accommodation, under the same conditions as a comparable French family.
But this reform of family reunification would not make sense if, at the same time, we did not change the other routes of family immigration.
The conditions for issuing residence cards for reasons of “private and family life” will therefore be specified. The foreigner present in our country will have to justify the seniority, the stability and the intensity of his ties in France, the nature of his ties with the family remained in his country, his living conditions in France as well as of its integration into our society.
Likewise, I suggest that you better fight against marriages of convenience, the sole purpose of which is to provide a residence permit and, ultimately, nationality, to the spouse of a French person.
It is obviously not a question of prohibiting a French national from marrying a foreigner, nor even of prohibiting him from marrying a foreigner in an irregular situation. But we must remove the automatic link between marriage and the right of residence, to discourage marriages of convenience. Three main measures will allow us to do this:
• first, the requirement of a long-stay visa for the spouse of a French person who asks to obtain a residence permit: thus marriage will no longer systematically give the right to a residence permit since it will first be necessary to have obtained a visa in their country of origin;
• then, the extension (to three years) of the period of common life from which the French spouse will be able to obtain a 10-year resident card, if he can prove his integration;
• lastly, the extension (to four years) of the period of common life required before becoming French.
In this way, we will redefine the path that leads from mixed marriage to the acquisition of nationality. We will not discourage real marriages, but we will rule out those who have no other goal than to obtain papers.
Our third objective is to better welcome students, talents and workers who wish to come to France.
The logic of chosen immigration and that of co-development meet here. For each measure, we must strive to find the right balance between the interests of France and that of the countries of origin.
I propose, first of all, the creation of a “skills and talents” residence permit for a period of three years. It will be issued to people whose presence is a chance for France but is not vital for their country of origin. For example, it will be granted to Indian computer scientists, but not to Beninese doctors.
I then suggest that you simplify the reception in France of students who have been chosen in their countries of origin. Young foreign graduates will also be able to benefit from a residence permit to look for a job. For those who come from a developing country, it will be a useful first professional experience before returning to their country, which they can share with the training and experience acquired in France.
Finally, I suggest a relaxation of the conditions of recruitment abroad, in sectors and employment areas that suffer from labor shortages, such as hotels and restaurants or construction. Professional organizations and unions in each region should be involved in defining and implementing the new system. It is supplemented by a battery of measures to better fight against illegal work.
Our fourth objective is to successfully integrate immigrants .
It is a question of defining, in a coherent and progressive way, a true path of integration, from the arrival in France until the durable installation.
For this, the signing of a reception and integration contract must be made compulsory for all people who enter France legally in order to immigrate in a sustainable manner.
This contract should not be a piece of paper that you sign and forget. The foreigner will make commitments with regard to the host society: to learn the French language, to respect the laws and values of the Republic. In return, the contract will include commitments from the State towards foreigners: linguistic and civic training, first orientation in the steps to adapt to French society.
When the foreigner asks, after several years in France, to benefit from a 10-year resident card, he will have to prove that he has integrated well. This “integration condition”, verified by the prefects after consulting the mayors, will include three elements: the personal commitment of the foreigner to respect the principles which govern the French Republic, the effective respect of these principles and a sufficient knowledge of our language.
The integration process will therefore include several meetings: the reception and integration contract on arrival in France, and the verification of effective integration before the issue of the 10-year card.
The bill has a fifth objective : to control overseas immigration .
I visited the West Indies last month. I have read with great interest the report of the fact-finding mission that your Assembly devoted to Mayotte. I will be going to Guyana soon.
Overseas: “in a particular situation, a particular response”
For a particular situation, a particular answer! The explosion of illegal immigration in Mayotte, but also in Guyana and Guadeloupe, compromises the balance of these territories. While respecting the unity of the Republic, I am convinced that the dramatic immigration situation in these three communities calls for a very vigorous response.
The mobilization of operational resources and the firm instructions that I gave to the prefects have enabled us, in recent months, to expel a large number of illegal immigrants. The figures show that voluntarism produces results! During the first quarter, 3,500 foreigners, mostly Comorians, were expelled from Mayotte: this is an increase of 250% compared to 2005. In Guyana, we returned 2300 illegal immigrants, which represents an increase by 160% compared to the first quarter of 2005.
The operational effort will be all the more effective as pragmatic legal measures are taken.
Whether it is about facilitating vehicle and identity checks, destroying boats used by human smugglers, or fighting with determination against fraudulent acknowledgments of paternity and the exploitation of illegal workers, the draft The law includes a battery of measures which will enable the State services to act more effectively against illegal immigration in these territories.
All in all, Ladies and Gentlemen, the 84 articles of the bill will give us the instruments to implement, in concrete terms, the transformation of our immigration policy.
But these 84 articles, in my mind, are not set in stone.
“Take into account the ideas expressed by the actors in the field that I have met”
I would like the text to be enriched, to take into account the ideas expressed by the actors in the field that I have met.
I listened to the proposals that were made to me. I have heard some criticism.
The Christian churches, in particular, are in their role when they insist on the requirement of respect for the dignity of persons. Of course, I totally agree. By dialoguing with the representatives of the churches, I tried to clear up misunderstandings.
I have already agreed to amend the bill to take certain comments into account. The extension from 15 days to one month of the time limit for appealing foreigners against decisions requiring them to leave French territory seems to me necessary. Likewise, I want the text to expressly state that the residence permit issued to employees will not be withdrawn from them in the event of termination of the employment contract.
Because I do not feel that I own every clause in the bill. I submit it for parliamentary discussion in the conviction that it can be improved!
I want to mark my openness to two ideas that seem very relevant to me.
Trusting working relationships between public authorities and civil society – each staying in its place – seem essential to me for the success of the new French immigration model. In this spirit, I believe it is useful to create a National Council for Immigration and Integration, which will bring together public officials and representatives of civil society . I would like to give him two missions.
It will be up to him to establish immigration statistics with complete impartiality. We have made a lot of progress since the creation of the High Council for Integration, whose statistical observatory makes a useful contribution to the work of the General Secretariat of the interministerial immigration control committee. We must definitively get out of the controversies over the figures, objectively assess illegal immigration, fix the figures for legal immigration as precisely as possible.
It will also be up to the new body to monitor the implementation of the immigration and integration policy, by making proposals to the Government. I see it as a way of sustaining the relationships of trust that have been established with civil society.
A second idea, which was suggested to me during the preparatory working meetings for the bill, seems to me to need to be explored: the creation of a commission bringing together civil servants and association officials, the objective of which will be to ensure the ” harmonization of prefectural practices in terms of regularization.
In fact, I would like the case-by-case regularizations , which remain possible under the terms of the bill, to be carried out according to homogeneous criteria in the territory. On the one hand, it is a question of taking into account humanitarian requirements, as we have done by circulars since 2002. But it is also, in my mind, to authorize ad hoc regularizations of foreigners whose presence in France can be a chance for our country.
In the associative world, responsible actors are ready to enter into this logic. I intend to help them.
In conclusion, allow me to tell you what I expect from the parliamentary debate which is beginning.
I have full confidence in the national representation to be, on this essential subject, as imaginative as it is constructive.
I read with great interest the various works that the National Assembly and the Senate recently prepared. I would like to salute, in particular, the Commission of Inquiry that the Senate has devoted to irregular immigration, as well as the Information Mission which has worked, within your Assembly, on the difficult question of immigration in Mayotte. . Some articles of the bill are taken directly from it.
Above all, I want to pay tribute to the very high quality of the work of your Rapporteur, Mr Thierry Mariani. He was able to prepare very thoroughly for the debate on the bill submitted to you, by making a remarkable contribution to the work of the Law Commission.
At the outset, I would like to stress that I am in favor – with some drafting reservations – of the 90 amendments which were adopted by the Law Commission at its meeting last week.
Whether it is a question of strengthening the right of residence of dismissed foreign workers, of taking better account of the situation of women victims of domestic violence, of creating a residence facility for foreigners willing to participate in humanitarian missions or of extend the time limit for appealing to foreigners contesting decisions requiring them to leave the country, I would like to welcome the very useful improvements made to several articles of the bill in a spirit of justice.
I am also convinced that the definition of the “skills and talents” card could be refined, so that foreigners benefiting from this card, when they come from a developing country, are required to participate in cooperation actions in favor of their country of origin.
Above all, allow me to express my full agreement with three important amendments presented by your rapporteur.
I would like to thank him for offering better control of compliance with the reception and integration contract.
I also want to underline the rapporteur’s contribution to the reform of family reunification and, in particular, of the housing requirements, which must be the same as those of a comparable French family living in the same region.
Even more, I would like to indicate that I totally share the idea, presented by Mr. Thierry Mariani, of instituting “welcoming ceremonies in citizenship”, in the prefecture or in the town hall, for the attention of people coming from acquire French nationality.
I am also delighted that the Commission has adopted an amendment presented by the rapporteur and by Mr Jean-Christophe Lagarde in order to specify that the amount of the resources of the person applying for family reunification must take into account the size of his family.
Hats off to the PCF, regrets for the PS
Finally, I would like to thank Mr. Patrick Braouzec and the members of the group of Communist and Republican deputies for having presented an amendment which reinforces the Government’s choice to offer voluntary return assistance to foreigners who have been the subject of a refusal. stay.
My only regret, at this stage of your debates, is that on a subject as essential as immigration and integration policy, the Socialist Party has adopted a political posture. Unable to come up with positive measures, the Socialists confine themselves to presenting deleting amendments.
I have noted, however, that a few sensible voices were able to express themselves within the Socialist Party to make proposals which are quite close to ours. I have read with great interest the inventive work of Mr. Malek Boutih, who is in favor of quantitative regulation of immigration. I also heard the very reasonable words of Mr. Manuel Valls and Mr. Bruno Le Roux.
But I regret that, on the whole, their voices hardly reached the rue de Solférino!
MM. Laurent Fabius and Jack Lang, no doubt nostalgic for the great era of 1981, offer us nothing less than to reopen the door to major mass regularizations. A quarter of a century after having participated in the most left-wing government of the Fifth Republic, they have still learned nothing from the past 25 years.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The debate that is beginning will be decisive in shaping the face that France will have in the next 30 years. Because the time has come to make a real social choice without taboos.
I offer you an ambitious and demanding path.
I suggest that you define a new model, that of chosen immigration, to achieve integration and strengthen the cohesion of our country.