Tribune. In the binary debates on immigration which agitated France in favor of the presidential campaign, little was said about what should be done to improve the integration capacities of immigrants within their host country. .
On this subject, a recently published study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that too high a geographic concentration of immigrants can hinder their successful long-term integration. A more balanced territorial distribution of immigration is therefore necessary, like that implemented by Germany for the reception of refugees during the migration crisis of 2015-2016.
In France, this process of territorialization of immigration and integration policies remains today limited to the right to asylum. Generalized, it would make it possible to orient immigration paths towards reception and integration offers expressed by the territories.
Studies of l’Insee and of France Strategy show that the immigrant population of France is concentrated in a few regions (Ile de France, South, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Grand Est, etc.), in large urban areas, and, in their midst, in neighborhoods whose perimeters coincide largely with those of city politics.
In parallel, the “Small and medium-sized areas, isolated countryside remain isolated from growth”, driven by large metropolises (Insee, 2018). In these territories, it also seems that the feeling of abandonment can create a fertile ground for radical ideas against a foreigner all the more fantasized that he is relatively little present.
The congestion of services and reception capacities, the segregation of immigrant populations and the demographic dropout between centers and peripheries have harmful effects. It is therefore crucial to promote a policy ensuring better territorial distribution and greater territorialization of immigration and integration in France.
In terms of political immigration, this horizon has already inspired some of the laws n° 2015-925 and n° 2018-778, who created the national reception plan for asylum seekers and refugees, a key for distributing applications between regions, and making reception assistance for asylum seekers conditional on their compliance with geographical criteria .
At the local level, local authorities are taking more and more initiatives to offer refugees a reception supported by basic services that fall within their competence (housing, integration, social assistance, childhood, culture, etc.). Small towns (Luzy, in Nièvre, Ferrette, in Haut-Rhin, etc.) have obtained promising results which can be a source of inspiration for others.
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“A more balanced territorial distribution of immigration is necessary”