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France’s Constitutional Council Strikes Down Parts of Hardline Immigration Bill

France’s Constitutional Council—the nation’s highest constitutional court—ruled today that large parts of the Macron government’s new hardline immigration bill are unconstitutional. According to France24: “The Constitutional Council ruling notably rejected measures in the bill toughening access to social benefits and family reunification, as well as the introduction of immigration quotas set by parliament.”

Groups opposed to the bill see it as a violation of French values and accuse President Macron of pandering to Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party as a way of influencing European Parliament elections in June. On Sunday, Jan. 21, large demonstrations were held nationwide in opposition to the bill. The left-wing CGT union estimates that as many as 150,000 people were out in the streets protesting.

Jacques Cheminade, President of Solidarité et Progrès, the LaRouche-affiliated organization in France, issued the following statement on the decision by the Constitutional Council:

“The Constitutional Council censored 32 articles of the immigration law, mostly on the basis of Article 45 of the French Constitution, which forbids adding to the law items that are legally foreign to the intention expressed in the law. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin claims to be satisfied because most of the original sections proposed by Macron (and Darmanin himself) were not censored. The Council therefore rejected the most awful elements imposed by a compromise of Macron with the right wing. Now all the right wing is furious, Jordan Bardella from the National Front, the extreme-right wing, is calling for a referendum to restrain the rights of the migrants and ‘stop their invasion.’ De facto, what is left of the law is not as horrendous as what has been left out, but it is only a partial decision, because the government is allowed to try again.

“The whole thing is a sort of disgusting show, promoted by the media as the key debated issue, while the farmers are rolling in the streets with their tractors. Solidarité et Progrès is distributing a leaflet on the farming issue, calling for an assault against the true enemies of France, the financial oligarchy, its cartels and its political accomplices. We are doing our best to prevent single-issueism and to call for a united front against our true enemies, with a program calling for a union of the workers and citizens of the West with the countries of the Global South to challenge the present fear of the population to act. The farmers, provided there is a united front inside France, within Europe and elsewhere in the world, are the potential spark to revive hope. As it is, things can shift sooner than many expect towards a furia francese [French passion] provided it becomes more and more inspired by truth and not chauvinism.”