Immigration : What to do?

The massive arrival of migrants on the island of Lampedusa puts immigration back at the heart of the political debate 10 months ahead of the European elections. France is preparing a new law, the 29ᵉ since 1980! Just one more…

In just a few days, 120 boats dumped more than 11,000 migrants on the small Italian island of Lampedusa, suddenly making all European countries realize that the mass immigration we’ve been hearing about for 40 years is no longer a pipe dream. The uncontrolled influx of migrants over the years has destabilized European societies. Germany, hitherto very much in favor of the “voluntary European solidarity mechanism”, abruptly decided on Friday to “suspend until further notice” the reception of migrants from Italy. Its reception capacities are saturated.

A “European response”?

Italy, overwhelmed, declared a state of emergency throughout the country. It can no longer cope with the overflow of illegal migrants. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, visited Lampedusa on Sunday September 17, 2023, accompanied by the head of government, Giorgia Meloni. She announced an emergency plan to help Italy manage migratory flows from North Africa. Irregular immigration needs a “European response”, she said, calling on European countries to take in some of the migrants arriving in Italy.

“Financial sanctions

In France, the subject is explosive. With ten months to go before the European elections, all the political parties are taking up the issue. Marion Maréchal, head of the Reconquête list for the European elections, went to the island of Lampedusa to send a message of support to Italy, “abandoned by Europe”, as she put it.
The president of the Rassemblement National, Jordan Bardella, asked Emmanuel Macron not to welcome “any migrants” arriving on the European continent via Lampedusa, following Germany’s lead.
From Beaucaire, where the RN made its political comeback this weekend, Marine le Pen blasted Europe’s migration policy. “Tomorrow, financial sanctions will be imposed on recalcitrant countries thanks to the European immigration pact. What a shame!”

Regularization of undocumented workers

In an open letter published on September 11, some thirty left-wing members of parliament called for “urgent, humanist and concrete measures to regularize the situation of undocumented workers in jobs in short supply” (but which jobs are not in short supply?).
In the wake of the events that have plunged France into mourning in recent months (notably the knife attack in Annecy), all the political parties want to review the conditions governing the right to asylum.
The French government is well aware that public opinion can no longer tolerate the massive influx of migrants to whom the country cannot offer a decent welcome. Unicef recently pointed out that over 2,000 children live on the streets. A referendum on the subject? The result is a foregone conclusion.

Draft law

Hence his bill to “control immigration, improve integration.” The bill includes a series of measures to facilitate deportations, especially of delinquent foreigners. The reform of the right to asylum also includes an integration component, with the regularization of undocumented workers in short-staffed occupations.
However, in the absence of a parliamentary majority, this text has not found a majority in Parliament. It has to be said that this would be the 29ᵉ law (if passed) on immigration since 1980. And the previous ones have been of little use. The figures, always debatable, put the number of immigrants residing in France at seven million, or 10.3% of the total population, according to Insee. In 2022, France will have issued 1.7 million visas, compared with 733,070 in 2021, an increase of 137.1%. This number remains well below the total number of visas issued before the health crisis. By 2019, France had issued 3.5 million visas.
Meanwhile, boats loaded with illegal migrants arrive in Lampedusa every day…