In a significant move, the French parliament has approved a controversial immigration bill, supported by President Emmanuel Macron’s government. The decision comes after Macron faced a major rebellion within his own party over the toughened-up legislation, with various amendments further tightening the immigration measures.
The lower house voted in favor of the legislation by a wide majority, with the ruling party ultimately not needing the support of the far-right National Rally (RN) led by Marine Le Pen to push the bill through. However, amendments to the bill have intensified immigration measures, leading to accusations from the left that the government succumbed to pressure from the far right.
Le Pen endorsed the modified bill, surprising many, and although the RN had initially planned to vote against or abstain, French media dubbed her support a “kiss of death” for Macron’s party.
Last week, the bill had suffered a major setback when it was voted down without debate in the National Assembly. The subsequent amendments and the left’s discontent raised concerns within Macron’s party, with several ministers reportedly threatening to resign.
Marine Le Pen hailed the legislation as an “ideological victory” for the National Rally, emphasizing that it is now enshrined into law as a national priority. The bill, which Macron had called a priority, had initially faced rejection, prompting the President to call for a new reading.
The passing of the bill was crucial for Macron, who cannot seek re-election in 2027 after two consecutive terms. The political crisis surrounding the immigration bill has laid bare the fragilities of Macron’s mandate, as the government lacks a parliamentary majority since the 2022 legislative elections.
The left and hard-left criticized the legislation, with Boris Vallaud, head of Socialist lawmakers, calling it a “great moment of dishonor for the government.” Dozens of NGOs condemned it as potentially the “most regressive” immigration law in decades.
The adoption of the immigration bill marks a significant moment for Macron’s presidency, with political implications that could shape the trajectory of his remaining term. The President is expected to address the nation in a televised interview, offering insights into the government’s stance on the contentious issue.
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