Darmanin’s tracks for the reform of the Aliens Act

False start. A week after the announcement of an immigration law in parliament at the beginning of the school year, Gérald Darmanin was forced on Wednesday, August 3, at the request of Élisabeth Borne, to postpone the exam that was to begin “ the week of October 10 According to a government source to AFP. It will finally be replaced by a “ big debate “on the subject to the National Assembly and Senate,” before a final invoice is presented “, the Minister of the Interior announced in an interview with the Figaro. In the same interview, Gérald Darmanin explains that he relied on the recommendations of the Council of State and the recommendations of the report State Services and Immigration: Regaining Meaning and Efficiency, presented by Senator Les Républicains François-Noël Buffet. To anticipate the government’s delayed announcements, Marianne expressed interest in these recommendations.

And this report by François-Noël Buffet starts from an observation: the ” Immigration law has become illegible and incomprehensible due to the pile of successive reforms, ineffective procedures and a lack of resources. The senator points to an ever-increasing number — excluding the year of incarceration — of applications for residence permits and a parallel increase in the number of “primo issues”, i.e. the number of permits issued for the first time, to 271 675 in 2021.


The current system is worrying: in addition to the average processing time of 99 days for the first residence permit applications, the report underlines the deterioration of reception conditions for foreigners and in particular the extension, until 2020, of queues outside the prefectures” early in the morning Although the introduction of electronic meeting modules has eliminated these queues, the lack of slots remains and has far from trivial consequences. In fact, more and more people are taking advantage of the administrative court to order the administration to issue an appointment; “useful preliminary measures” that occupy more and more administrative magistrates, forced to “ fill holes of state acts. It should be remembered that disputes for foreigners already occupy 40% of their activity with 100,000 requests per year.

To break this vicious circle, the Buffet report first of all recommends continuing the process of dematerialization of appointments, formalities and issuance of titles (52% of titles are already dematerialized), while a digital reception in the prefecture is guaranteed to foreigners furthest away from internet tools. Above all, the report agrees with the recommendations of the Council of State by recommending to revise the procedures and simplify the rules of procedure, which is today ” excessively complex, with, depending on the nature of the contested decision, the situation of the person concerned, different time-limits for appeals, time-limits for assessment and methods of organization of procedure’ and “not always consistent Of a dozen different procedures currently applicable to the litigation of aliens, the report recommends, in accordance with the recommendations of the Council of State, to adhere to only three: one normal procedure, two urgent cases.

The 360° review

In order to simplify the rights of foreigners and enable faster and more efficient processing of residence permit applications, the Buffet report proposes to experiment on a larger scale with the “360° survey”. In short, the administration today does not examine the situation of foreigners on French territory and their legitimacy to stay there as a whole. It examines an application for a specific residence permit. It is therefore only necessary to respond to this specific request from a foreigner for a certain type of residence permit.

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On the contrary, the 360° survey allows the administration to look at the whole situation of a foreigner and therefore ” all reasons that could justify the issuance of a permit, in order to be able to take a final decision on the alien’s right of residence from the first stages of the process “. The advantage of this system?” A new request could only be submitted in the presence of new circumstances. This type of research is already being tested by several prefectures, especially those of Paris, Rhône and Bouches-du-Rhône. ” This option is mainly used in cases where the request for the requested permit has little chance of success, which means that a foreign national can be prevented from ending up in an illegal situation when he could legally have obtained a permit. foundation he might not have imagined the report says.

European harmonization

The report also points to the lack of harmonization between the countries of the European Union and the shortcomings of the existing system, known as “Dublin III”, which puts the first country where a migrant applies for a residence permit to take responsibility for the entire process and the final decision. The fact-finding mission calls for reform” profound of this system, which today mechanically extends the exam time for those interested. Furthermore, the authors of the report advocate a comprehensive reform of the Common European Asylum System, a reform ambitious and pragmatic “The goal: to move away from the principle of responsibility of the country of first entry and to establish it in the long term” a system of mutual recognition of rejection decisions in asylum cases “.

Another black spot in French migration policy where, according to the Buffet report, the European Union can play its part: the return policy for foreigners in an irregular situation. Increasing figures: only 5.7% of the obligations to leave French territory are actually implemented (in 2019 there were 120,000). When a myriad of factors are at play – from the difficulty of identifying people to the increased prosecution of the removal process, the saturation of the detention system, the health crisis… – the report points to delivery rates” unequal » consular laissez-passer (LPC): « barely one in two LPCs was issued by the consular authorities of the countries of origin within a reasonable time in 2021. »

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How to put pressure on unruly countries? “ According to the fact-finding mission, the key to more cooperation from recalcitrant states in issuing consular laissez-passer lies at European level. “The authors of the report believe that the visa restriction policy adopted by France, which the report considers particularly useful, is against the Maghreb states” could increase its effectiveness tenfold if all our European partners shared it “Noting that, from a more pragmatic point of view, free movement in the Schengen area” makes it too easy to get around this visa restriction policy, the report invites the government, in the final months of its presidency of the Council of the European Union, to ” promoting a genuine European policy on visa restrictions with regard to migration non-cooperative states “.

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