France lawmakers vote to adopt controversial immigration bill

[JURIST] The French National Assembly [official website, in French] on Tuesday voted 294-239 to adopt a controversial immigration bill [No. 542 text, in French; materials, in French] that would would strip criminals born in other countries of their French nationality if they have been convicted of violent crimes against police officers. The French Senate [official website, in French] will consider the bill [materials, in French], which would also deport EU citizens for crimes such as repeated acts of theft, aggressive begging, or illegally occupying land, in November. The National Assembly began considering [JURIST report] the immigration bill last month. Supporters argued that it would help decrease crime [WP report] in the country and give local authorities greater power to dismantle and evacuate illegal settlements. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] has criticized the bill, urging the French government to reject the proposal because it targets minority populations [press release], particularly the Roma [JURIST news archive]. Also on Tuesday, the National Assembly Judiciary Committee [official website, in French] established a Mission on French Nationality Laws [press release] to address issues faced by French nationals.

Last month, the European Commission (EC) [official website] warned France [JURIST report] that the country would face disciplinary proceedings and potential legal action if it did not follow EU regulations in its relations with Roma migrants. The warning stated that France needed to abide by the 2004 Directive on Free Movement [Directive 2004/38/EC materials] and incorporate it into its laws. Also in September, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding [official profile] threatened legal action [JURIST report] against France for its deportation of Roma, calling the intuitive "a disgrace." More than 100,000 people in 130 cities across France protested [JURIST report] the security policies of President Nicolas Sarkozy [official website, in French], including his decision to deport [JURIST reports] the illegal Roma. In August, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [official website] unveiled a review [JURIST report] of France's compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) [text], which raised questions about the controversial immigration legislation and the decision to dismantle 300 unauthorized Roma encampments.

 

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