Immigration: the majority tries to avoid the horrors of division

Does the majority, in a hurry to turn the page on pensions, risk opening another – immigration – on which it is likely to be deeply divided? “It is still becoming less and less complicated”, tempers a Renaissance deputy from the right wing, who ures that the time is no longer for internal rifts in the majority like those who had burst into the open. with the “asylum and immigration” law of 2018 carried by the Minister of the Interior at the time, Gérard Collomb.

Nevertheless, the procrastination of the executive on the immigration bill of the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, and that of Labour, Olivier Dussopt, show to what extent the subject, complex and politically explosive, remains sensitive within the majority.

“Macro-political subject and micro-budgetary subject”

Latest episode to date, the discussions within the Renaissance group on the position to have on the motion for a resolution carried by the deputy LR Véronique Louwagie and discussed this Wednesday in the embly on the occasion of the “spring of the evaluation”. It relates to “the slippage of the cost for the State of health coverage for foreigners in an irregular situation”.

At the heart of this resolution, an eminently sensitive subject, state medical aid (AME), which allows foreigners in an irregular situation to access care. A device that the speaker of the Renaissance group, the deputy Mathieu Lefevre describes as “political macro-subject and budgetary micro-subject”.

The Renaissance group finally decided to vote against it. Just like the other two majority groups, the Modem and Horizons. “We decided on a position to vote against because we saw the trap of then dragging us into a negotiation of the à la carte immigration bill, we will not negotiate by cutting and not just anything”, explains a tenor of the majority.


The game is not so simple for Renaissance. Twenty left-wing deputies, led by Stella Dupont and Nadia Hai, published a column in “L’Opinion” to defend the AME, criticize the LR resolution and agree to review the terms of the AME “in the exclusive aim of avoiding the abuses that may exist” while denouncing any questioning of its “legitimacy”. But other members of the group would have voted in favor of this resolution, being totally in agreement with it.

While Gérald Darmanin recently ured in “Le Parisien” that he was ready to “discuss the terms” of the AME and that the majority needs LR votes for his immigration bill, it is for Renaissance not to to steer the LR deputies but also to reaffirm a certain number of principles to which the left wing is attached.

“We had this debate but nobody said contradictory things, nobody said that nothing should be done and nobody said that it had to be reduced to an emergency, we are pragmatic”, ures Mathieu Lefevre who wanted to take the opportunity to call on LR deputies to support the future bill, supposed to fight against illegal immigration, which will have an impact on the AME.

There is tension on the subject even within the government. The Minister of Public Accounts, Gabriel Attal, indicated that he listened to health professionals and ured that “the real priority is the fight against illegal immigration”. That of Health, François Braun, stressed that the AME represents 0.5% of the entire Social Security budget but he is nevertheless working on a prior agreement for care.

Righting the electorate of Emmanuel Macron

But the majority does not want to appear divided and more weakened than it already is on a complex and difficult subject. “They would like to p us off as those with whom there is a problem but the divisions are at LR. We, we agree to regularize those who are already working in France, we agree on the double penalty. At LR, it is less clear, if only on the question of a referendum, ”replies the president (Renaissance) of the Law Commission in the embly, Sacha Houlié.

If there are upheavals, “they are the result of a small minority which has not digested the right-winging of part of Emmanuel Macron’s electorate. This minority does not want an agreement with LR either ”, estimates a Renaissance deputy for whom there is also, in the background, the debates around a possible replacement of Elisabeth Borne at Matignon and the political color of the substitute. But everyone is reured by saying that this time, unlike pensions, public opinion will help.

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