MACRON’S IMMIGRATION BILL REJECTED BY FRENCH LOWER HOUSE – Blow dealt to the President’s attempts to pass laws without a majority

French lawmakers sent the government’s immigration bill back to the drawing board on in a surprise move that cut short debates at the lower house and dealt a blow to President Emmanuel Macron’s attempts to pass laws without a majority.

Lawmakers from Marine Le Pen’s far right party as well as many conservatives joined forces to reject the bill on its first day in the National Assembly, adopting a motion proposed by the Greens, which passed by just two votes.

Leftist MP Elsa Faucillon said that her group rejected the immigration law because it was based on a “repressive, security-oriented approach,” while the right party the Republicans claimed that the government has allowed the text that came out of the Senate to be trampled underfoot in the Law Committee.

The rejection does not mean the government needs to resign and does not signal the end of the immigration bill.

The government can now decide to send it back to the upper house, send it to a joint committee of senators and deputies to find a compromise, or pull it, which is unlikely.

It can also use special executive powers to force its adoption without a vote.

Outside the National Assembly asylum seekers and citizens gathered to voice protest at the proposed bill.

Forty- year-old Souleymane Diallo, who came to France from Mali in 2019, said that as an undocumented migrant, he works long hours for little pay.

The immigration bill has been a key plank of Macron’s attempts to show he can be tougher on law and order issues while keeping France’s doors open to foreign workers who can help the French economy.