Since the start of the week, the room of the law committee of the National Assembly
has not been empty. In an electric atmosphere, the deputies studied the bill on immigration, with virulent interventions from the oppositions. But the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin also had to deal with his majority.
Entire sections added by the Senate, with the agreement of the minister (including the reform of state medical aid) have been deleted. Gérald Darmanin was also defeated on the reintroduction of a solidarity offense. The left wing of the majority, which had already pushed to maintain an article on the regularization of workers in professions in tension, also voiced a different score on the question of sick foreigners or family reunification. This week, it even happened that Gilles Le Gendre, the former president of the LREM group, voted with Nupes.
Several lines in the majority
For the Modem deputy, Philippe Latombe, there are several lines in the majority, “between Horizons, very close to the position of the Senate; Renaissance, stuck between a left-wing line and one closer to the initial government text and Modem, which, while removing certain provisions which go too far, wants to reach a final agreement with the Senate. »
The internal fault lines within the majority were already expressed in 2018 during the study of the Collomb law, with difficult debates between deputies from the left and the right. According to a Nupes executive, “with immigration, there is always immediately the return of the left-right divide. This remains a politically identity-related subject and it is logical that the subject fractures the majority who do not have a very defined doctrine on the question. Especially since the Senate, by pulling the text very far to the right, has undermined the idea of a balanced reform.”
Of bons soldats
For a majority collaborator, “the absence of a strong presidential statement on the subject leaves more latitude to everyone. Especially after the retirements, where everyone followed the line despite the unpopularity of the reform.” Forced to be good soldiers for eighteen months in an Assembly where each vote depends on a few votes, several deputies want to be able to express their positions.
Guillaume Gouffier, head of the Renaissance group at the Law Commission, wants to downplay: “Overall, the agreement is real, even if there may be nuances on additional points.” For him, it is normal for there to be debate, “immigration is a very divisive subject within our society”. But if the positions are sometimes principled, “it is also a very technical subject”. For Elodie Jacquier-Laforge, Modem co-rapporteur of the text, “we are part of an international and European framework, with constitutional jurisprudence. The easiest way is to have very clear-cut speeches without any link to human or legal realities.” To dispassionate the debates, the majority executives are banking on a return to reality.
More vehement debates expected in the hemicycle
But in the hemicycle, the debates which will begin on December 11 promise to be even more vehement. The left wing of the majority, poorly represented in the law committee, will also be more present there. Elodie Jacquier-Laforge does not despair of reaching a compromise, however. Many meetings will take place between now and then: “we must take the time to hear different opinions to find a path that everyone can take. So far we have been successful. » One step after another.