17:58 GMT +324 March 2019
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    French President Emmanuel Macron visits the museum in Ajaccio, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica

    Macron's New Immigration Policy: Will It Work?

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    With French President Emmanuel Macron implementing controversial new illegal immigration and refugee laws; Sputnik spoke with Jim Shields, professor of French politics at the University Of Aston to get his views on its possible impacts.

    Sputnik: Will the new policy be successful?

    Jim Shields: It’s hard to tell how successful the new policy might be. One of the measures of its success is likely to be a crude one, i.e. the cases of Asylum seekers whose cases are not upheld and who are deported.

    On the questions of ethics, this is difficult, France has always projected the image of being welcoming to foreigners and refugees, looking across at the EU and the review of immigration policy that is underway in so many countries, France is not an exception, but part of a wider pattern.

    Like everything in Macron’s approach too, this is promoted as a question of balance, between humanitarianism on one hand and toughening judicial thoroughness on the other.

    Sputnik: How serious a problem is illegal immigration in France?

    Jim Shields: It’s always difficult to assess how serious the problem of illegal immigration is as much of it is hidden from view. For years the French have watched images of squatters in Calais and this has reinforced the notion of an illegal immigration problem that’s both serious and unresolved.

    France did keep a tight control of its borders concerning refugees, at a time when Germany was opening its doors to millions and there is a rising trend of asylum applications in France.

    The government argues that this trend generates a need for a more efficient system for processing asylum application and removing those found not to qualify.

    Sputnik: Why is this issue so prominent in France?

    Jim Shields: It’s caused by the clash between the traditional open values of France and the growing strength of the far right. The fact is that there is no appetite in France for more open borders, or for a softer line on immigration.

    Marine Le Pen ran a poor presidential campaign, but still reached the run off. Macron has a nose for the spirit of the times and the spirit of the times is not in favour of a more liberal immigration policy.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.


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