France’s government is to present a new law which would enable it to expel any foreigner who has “committed a serious offence,” regardless of the circumstances of them being in the country.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told Le Monde this weekend that this measure would be integrated into the Loi d’orientation et de programmation du ministère de l’intérieur (Lopmi), which will be presented to ministers in September.
“At the moment, a foreigner who commits a serious offence cannot be deported if they fulfil certain criteria, such as having arrived in France before the age of 13,” Mr Darmanin said.
“We want to enable the expulsion of any foreigner who has been found guilty of a serious crime by the courts, whatever the circumstances of their presence in France.
“We are prepared to discuss, to amend and to find compromises with Les Républicains, the centrists and even a section of the left,” on the terms of the future law, he added.
“We look at foreigners for what they do, not who they are, unlike [the far-right party] Rassemblement National. I respect them as parliamentarians, but we have nothing to discuss or negotiate with Rassemblement National or with [the far-left party] La France Insoumise.”
Laws can only be guaranteed to pass now if they are supported by MPs outside of the ruling party.
Mr Darmanin said that since he became interior minister, some 2,761 foreign people with criminal records have been deported from France, 60% as they were released from prison.
This figure is five times more than in previous years.
Mr Darmanin did not give examples of the crimes which would warrant expulsion from the country, but the list would include murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, organised crime and rape.
A proposal welcomed by Marine Le Pen
Rassemblement National’s Marine Le Pen welcomed Mr Darmanin’s ideas, saying: “If he wants to expel foreigners who are guilty of crimes (crimes) and offences (délits) it is 100 times yes [from me],” during an interview with BFM Politique.
In France, ‘crimes’ are the most serious offences – including murder and rape – punishable by upwards of 15 years in prison. ‘Délits’, meanwhile, are less severe than ‘crimes’ but more serious than a simple ‘contravention’: a minor infraction punishable by a fine.
‘Délits’ include theft, harassment, sexual assault and manslaughter. It has not yet been announced whether all of these offences would be included in Mr Darmanin’s bill.
“If things are going in the right direction, we will vote for them,” Ms Le Pen added.
However, La France Insoumise MP Clémentine Autain criticised the proposal as a way of “talking to the heart and soul of the extreme right”.
Ou comment parler aux tripes de l'extrême droite. https://t.co/8pjOMKDQcV— Clémentine Autain (@Clem_Autain) July 9, 2022