He remembers the children’s poems and drawings, the greetings from the windows, and even the chocolates that one morning a young woman braving confinement had offered him. A garbage collector in the inner suburbs of Paris, Bakary (he prefers not to give his name) thought that the gestures of solidarity towards his profession during the Covid-19 pandemic had changed things. “Suddenly, we were being celebrated, the front lines and the immigrants, without whom the country cannot stand”says this 43-year-old Ivorian, who arrived in France fifteen years ago.
Bakary would like not to be the only one who remembers the poems. He has a resident card, but he worries about his numerous colleagues who do not have one. “Sometimes I’m angry, sometimes I cry. Between the bosses who are happy to exploit undocumented immigrants and those who would like to throw us out, where have those who applauded the heroes of Covid gone? »
Since its presentation to the Council of Ministers at the beginning of 2023, the bill relating to immigration, which should be examined by the Senate at the beginning of November, has torn apart the political class, and even more: it highlights the taboos and tensions of the French company on the subject. In particular article 3, which proposes to create a “residence permit” for professions in shortage, in order to temporarily regularize undocumented immigrants working there.
The president of the Les Républicains party, Eric Ciotti, who has made it a red line, regularly raises the risk of a “migratory air call”, taking up an argument dear to the far right. On the other hand, some members of the majority emphasize that these undocumented immigrants are essential to our economy. “Without them, entire sections of our country could not function”wrote around thirty parliamentarians, ranging from MoDem and Renaissance to Europe Ecologie-Les Verts, in a column published, Monday September 11, by Release.
The subject is not only Franco-French. “Across Europe, sectors found themselves faced with an even more glaring labor shortage after the pandemic, pushing certain states to review their immigration policies”, recalls Jean-Christophe Dumont, head of the international migration division of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
“We need skilled labor immigration”, assured the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, Wednesday September 13. And for good reason: the number of deaths now exceeds the number of births in the aging European Union (EU). If, after two years of decline, its population grew by 2.8 million people in 2022, to reach 448.4 million inhabitants, it is largely thanks to migratory flows, Eurostat data shows. “Today, 100% of the growth in the EU workforce is linked to immigration”summarizes Mr. Dumont.
You have 82.49% of this article left to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.