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Asylum: the Assembly votes doubling the retention period to 90 days

Ⓒ POOL/AFP – BENOIT TESSIER – | The Minister of the Interior, Gérard Collomb (G), on April 20, 2018 in Paris

The assembly gave its green light on Saturday to an increase in the maximum length of stay in a detention center for foreigners awaiting deportation, one of the most contested measures of the asylum and immigration bill.

This leading article in Gerard Collomb’s text, which provides in particular that the maximum retention period will be increased from 45 to 90 days, was adopted by 77 votes to 31, with 46 abstentions. In addition to most LREMs, he obtained UDI-Agir votes but “without gaiety of heart”.

Critically criticized by the left, which unanimously voted against, the article ran up against the opposition of some elected representatives of the majority.

Nine LREMs voted against: Delphine Bagarry, Jean-Michel Clement, Stella Dupont, Florence Granjus, Sonia Krimi, François Michel-Lambert, Sandrine Mörch, Nathalie Sarles, Martine Wonner. Five abstained. The MoDem split in two for, one against (Nadia Essayan), 11 abstentions.

The LRs abstained (24 abstentions and 3 against), like the FN.

The minister defended a “totally basic” article, portraying retention as “an ultimate means” but “still necessary”. In particular, he promised that the detention centers (CRA) will be set up so that the conditions “can be actually acceptable”, especially for families.

Defending “a point of balance”, rapporteur Elise Fajgeles (LREM) said that detention “is a means to enforce measures of expulsion”, stressing in particular that the rate of execution of the obligations to leave the territory is 15%.

The left has taken up the slack against this article which “focuses the criticism, the opposition, the reprobation of a large number of associations” (Danièle Obono, LFI), and “considerably hardens the conditions of retention” (Elsa Faucillon , PCF).

“You are addressing an electorate that inscribes the fear of the other as a slider,” denounced the Communist elector, expressing his “emotion” in “this serious moment”.

Saying her “sadness”, Marietta Karamanli (PS) recalled that the length of detention had steadily increased (7 days in 1981), seeing only one reason for this “relentlessness”: “to make foreigners feel that they are at the mercy of the state.

All left-wing groups and non-status radicals have defended in vain amendments to ban the placement of minors in detention, joined by MoDem Erwan Balanant. “Some children behind the fences of the CRAs, I can not bear it,” he said. These amendments, to which LREM and MoDem joined their votes, were rejected by some 100 to 20 votes.

Other leftist amendments, particularly to return to 45 days, suffered the same fate.

Florent Boudié, leader LREM on the text, stressed that it would be “not the balance of any account” on the detention of minors, a working group LREM front floor for a bill.

In particular, LR sought to return to 135 days, as initially planned by the government, or even extend the term to 180 days.

“We would not have this debate if every stranger who was told no to his request to stay in our territory, respected this decision and therefore left home,” said for its part Marine Le Pen (FN) .

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