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France's constitutional court rejects controversial immigration law measures

Demonstrators protest against an immigration law outside the Constitutional Council, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 in Paris   -  
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Christophe Ena/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


France's Constitutional Council has delivered a blow to President Emmanuel Macron's government by rejecting several measures within a controversial immigration law.

Critics argue that the law is inhumane, and the council, in its statement, deemed 32 out of the law's 86 articles contrary to the constitution. The rejected measures included those making it more challenging for immigrants to reunite with their families in France and limiting their access to social welfare. Additionally, the law aimed to enhance France's ability to deport foreigners considered undesirable.

Left-wing opposition MP Eric Coquerel expressed relief, stating, "It's a first victory, undoubtedly the worst has been avoided." He highlighted the rejection of anti-constitutional and anti-republican articles, particularly those questioning the right of the soil and creating a national preference.

Protester Aboubacar Dembele acknowledged the anticipated rejection of some articles but emphasized concerns about the law's entirety, rooted in far-right ideas. He stated, "Our real problem is the totality of the law because the law is based on far-right ideas, taking all their ideas into consideration."

The contentious immigration law had faced criticism for allegedly compromising French values and aligning with far-right ideologies. Demonstrations took place outside the Constitutional Council, with protesters denouncing the government's alleged concession to Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally party to secure the law's passage through parliament.

Sunday's nationwide protests saw approximately 75,000 people voicing their opposition to the legislation, urging Macron not to sign it into law. The rejection of key measures by the Constitutional Council adds to the challenges facing Macron's government and underscores the growing influence of far-right sentiments in French politics.

This dispute unfolds amid broader tensions in Europe regarding migration, with anti-immigration far-right parties gaining traction ahead of the European Parliament elections in June. Macron's apparent shift toward more conservative positions on security and immigration issues has fueled the debate surrounding the immigration law and its implications for France's political landscape.

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