French immigration bill attacks right to asylum
1 May 2018
On April 22, the French National Assembly passed the repressive Asylum-Immigration Bill by a vote of 228-139, with 24 abstentions. The Assembly discussed this politically criminal bill for seven days before passing it. The measure tramples on the fundamental democratic right to asylum, allowing police to detain asylum seekers without charge for up to four months, deny them appeal hearings, and deport them back to their war-torn countries.
Significantly, though the neo-fascist National Front (FN) voted against the bill as a whole, it voted for the provision restricting appeals of deportation proceedings.
The bill was passed despite broad popular opposition. Thousands marched against the measure in cities including Paris, Lyon, Rennes, Caen, Montpellier, Valence, Toulouse, Grenoble, Bourges, Briançon, Avignon, Lille and Calais. Lawyers and administrative staff of the national asylum court struck for several days.
The bill is bound up with expanding imperialist wars across the Middle East and Africa and the turn to authoritarian forms of rule in France and across Europe. Interior Minister Gerard Collomb first presented the bill in the Assembly just two days before Paris, along with Washington and London, launched illegal missile strikes against Syria. With Trump threatening to suspend the Iranian nuclear treaty, the NATO powers are expecting an even broader flow of refugees after tens of millions have already been displaced by their wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and beyond.
This bill cuts the period for the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) to examine an asylum application from 120 to 90 days. Crucially, it reduces the time for asylum…