Immigration: Darmanin’s hectic warm-up lap

Immigration: Darmanin’s hectic warm-up lap

Barely out of the controversy over the Stade de France, Gérald Darmanin has been plowing the field of immigration since the beginning of the summer, preparing for the debate announced in the fall, even if it means suffering a few setbacks.

The chaos of the Champions League final at the end of May, which he had wrongly attributed to English supporters alone, could have weakened the great ambitions of the Minister of the Interior.

But the sequence, which the presidential majority dragged like a ball and chain throughout the legislative campaign, finally ended in June with its comfortable election in the North and an expanded portfolio in early July in the Overseas Territories, a first for ten years. .

Gérald Darmanin even benefits, a few days later, from a dismissal – expected – in the rape investigation which has targeted him since 2017.

The storm passed, he imposes in the opinion the theme of immigration when the Minister of Economy Bruno le Maire, one of his rivals designated for the race for the Elysée in 2027, catches the light with the examination of the purchasing power bill.

In a first interview granted to Le Monde on July 9, the Minister of the Interior announced his desire to remove the barriers that prevent the expulsion of foreigners convicted by the courts, before assuming, later on BFMTV, “a form double jeopardy”.

– Text postponed –

“He has the very Sarko side of + I trust and then I’m going there and we’ll see +”, explained to AFP a majority executive in the spring, just before the reshuffle. Then to add: “He is very cyclical. It is when he is in a phase of very great confidence that he is most in danger”.

At the risk of tripping over the carpet.

On July 24, he announced on Twitter the arrest of a “foreign offender” after the assault on police officers in Lyon, “totally exonerated” in the process by the prosecution.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin in Hostens, Gironde, August 11, 2022 (POOL/AFP – PHILIPPE LOPEZ)

The offensive continues two days later, on RTL, with the announcement of an immigration bill “at the start of the school year in September”.

On July 29, he himself signs the expulsion order for Imam Hassan Iquioussen, accused of having made anti-Semitic, sexist, homophobic and conspiratorial remarks, some dating back more than 20 years and which have not never been the subject of a criminal conviction.

He finally had to fall into line: Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne imposed a “big debate” on immigration on him in , de facto pushing back the examination of the text, and the administrative court of Paris ordered the suspension of the expulsion of the preacher.

Regarding the imam, the outcome of his appeal to the Council of State – which must examine it on August 26 – could strengthen or weaken his position, according to the decision of the magistrates, at the start of the new school year.

– “Obsessed” by 2027 –

Could his activism embarrass the government? “I don’t think so, answers AFP political scientist Bruno Cautrès, CNRS researcher at CEVIPOF. We let him do it, because we know that it’s his theme, his style, that the French identify him like that, even if it means procrastinating if the sidestep becomes too large in relation to the line”.

On the opposition side, the minister’s agitation and disappointments aroused criticism and sarcasm.

“Frustrated at not existing (…) when we talk about purchasing power”, Gérald Darmanin “saturates the media airwaves with a security and repressive discourse”, denounces the deputy of La France insoumise David Guiraud.

On the right, deputy LR Aurélien Pradié stings a minister who “always has this facility to show his muscles and in the end to back down”.

“Gérald Darmanin is obsessed with his career and positioning himself for 2027, that’s his project”, quips Nupes-EELV MP Sandrine Rousseau. “He uses immigration and security to ensure that in 2027 he is essential”, so “that we slow down his ambitions does not seem to me to be a major problem”, she added.

When asked about his desires for Elysée, the ex-LR kicks in touch: “before time, it’s not time”, repeats Gérald Darmanin, constantly claiming the “popular common sense” of his grandmother.


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