Paris, England – The Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has declared his boost for a series of measures that can tighten the number of migrants allowed into the country, including the possibility of introducing immigration quotas.
“Today, the French asylum system is saturated,” Philippe said in his opening remarks on Monday before the National Assembly.
“The question of being steered by targets and admissions for residency is not a taboo. I’m not afraid of thinking about the idea of quotas.”
Citing government figures Philippe said that France saw a 22-percent increase in asylum applications in 2018, whereas the rest of Europe recorded a 10-percent decrease.
In 2017, more than 100,000 people had requested asylum in the country, although it was unclear how many were eventually accepted.
Philippe also questioned the controversial state-funded healthcare programme, Aide Medicale dEtat (AME) for covering of undocumented workers.
Introduced under the socialist government of Lionel Jospin in 2000, AME currently provides benefits for around 300,000 people and costs the state one billion euros ($1.1bn) a year.
“France should take care of all those who live in its territory,” Philippe said. “But it should be neither more, nor less attractive than its neighbours.”
Philippe said the government should also review the terms for family reunifications visas which enable spouses and children under the age of 18 who already have a parent living in France to apply for one. Under the scheme about 90,000 immigrants a year get in under that scheme.
Macron shifts rightwards
The debate, which also included remarks from France’s Foreign, Interior and Health ministers comes just weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron announced a wonderful stance on immigration.
“France cannot save everyone if it wants to organizer people well, ” Macron told French radio section Europe 1 in Oct.
Macron’s shift to the right employs drawn criticism from ones political opponents. Some obtain also questioned his particular timing and motives in advance of the upcoming 2020 vecinal elections.
“It’s a little surprising which usually Macron decided to put now this question on the table when honestly the main questions of today are more about social issues, pensions and unemployment, ” Castano Cautres, a political development researcher at Sciences Po told Al Jazeera.
“So we are all wondering why Macron is deciding to do this soon. ”
Mariam Traore, a high school trainer living in eastern Paris, talked about she had similar some doubts about Monday’s debate.
“I don’t understand good reason we’re having this disputa at a time when we have a wide variety concerns in this country that have been frankly more pressing, type Traore told Al Jazeera. “These kinds of political ways just end up fuelling one particular far right. ”
Marine Le Book pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, arrested Macron of “using migration as an electoral element it pulls out his head wear a few weeks before elections while he thinks it will attract This particular language who see the reality in the garden. ”
Thing of integration
Others, however , said which supported the idea of a more healthy stance on immigration so the country could focus on residence domestic needs.
“We should do more to simply help immigrants, but before we can accomplish that we need to make sure we’re place to help our own citizens, with the high homeless population, micron Delphine Poirier, a 34-year-old nurse told Al Jazeera.
Today immigrants make up just below 10 percent on this French population – only two percentage points more than in 75.
Some experts have expressed concerns that is related to immigration data being taken out of context.
As it is true, for example , that asylum applications in France display increased in the last year, that number within the warped by the high quantities of asylum requests by users from Georgia and Albania.
The majority of conditions from these nations have been discarded, as France classifies the kids as “safe” countries.
“The real dispute is not whether there are ‘too a lot foreigners’ in France, lunch break wrote Francois Heran, a number one sociologist and demographer, period of time recent Le Monde editorial.
“The main problem is why are basic information on immigration being paid no mind to in order to avoid the larger question concerning integration. It’s time for involving our leaders to think of immigration like a word of reason more than fear. ”