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Vehicles of the CRS, the French police service. Photo: Wikipedia.

French government to detain illegal immigrants up to 90 days

The French government wants to clamp down on illegal immigration and aims to change the law regarding the detention of such immigrants about to be expelled, extending the current maximum period of 45 days to 90 days. Such a clause appears in a new bill on immigration

Published: September 29, 2017, 4:50 pm

    The period of 90 days may even be extended by a further 15 days. According to this piece of legislation “in favour of a guaranteed right of asylum and controlled immigration”, which will be sent to the State Council (Conseil d’État), the maximum duration of detention must not… exceed ninety days”. But “as an exception” a judge may then order a further extension “of fifteen days”, in the event that a foreigner should “resist” his expulsion.

    Administrative detention allows the detention of a foreigner who has already been declared illegal while awaiting his forcible expulsion. With 90 days, France “will remain within the lower range of the European average”, a source close to the project said, while mentioning that Germany, for example, provides for a period of 180 days. But after the message of the French president promising stricter measures against illegal immigration, the period of detention for verifying someone’s residence permit will be equally extended, going from 16 hours to 24.

    Then there will be a strengthening of the procedures around a class of illegal immigrants the French call dublinés, derived from the name of the Irish capital. Such migrants are known by this term because they have been registered in another European country and should therefore be sent back there for the processing of their applications for asylum. Currently the procedure is long, complex and only 10% of such migrants were actually moved in the last year. To increase the rate of moving them, the “dublined” migrants could be detained as soon as the request is sent to the state concerned, whereas until now the French had to wait for the other state to take a decision first.

    There will also be more expulsions of economic migrants. The French president, who has requested that the law be adopted during the first semester of 2018, draws a hard distinction between refugees and “economic migrants” who do not have any reason to be on French territory. “We are expelling far too few,” Macron said in September, promising measures in the new law “that would allow an improvement in expulsions towards the countries of origin” as some European neighbours already do, particularly Germany.

    In the first semester of 2017, Germany expelled 12 545 people. That is equal to the number France expelled during the whole of 2016, while 91 000 people were arrested for being without residence permits.

    Regarding the integration of refugees, the French government wants to combine the stricter measures against illegals with better conditions for the integration of refugees. The budget for “asylum and immigration” will be increased by 25% next year, according to the new law, with a rise of “more than 30%” for the integration policy towards the year 2020. The lives of foreign students looking for work will also be made easier.

    The French residence permit or carte de séjour will also be generously increased for those having obtained political asylum. Instead of just one year, they could now get a carte de séjour valid for several years, “up to a maximum of four years”.

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