French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in his car to meet the German Chancellor for talks at the Humboldt Forum in the still under construction Berlin Palace, on April 19, 2018 in Berlin. / AFP / Odd ANDERSEN
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France's National Assembly has adopted a controversial immigration bill that speeds up the asylum process and accelerates deportations after a fierce debate that exposed divisions in President Emmanuel Macron's party.Fourteen members of Macron's centrist Republic on the Move (LREM) party were among the 24 MPs who abstained, and one dissident quit the LREM parliamentary group after joining the naysayers -- a rare display of defiance in the usually on-message movement.Within minutes of the vote Amnesty International France issued a statement warning that the "dangerous" legislation, which allows for failed asylum-seekers to be detained for up to 90 days, jeopardized migrants' rights.France received a record 100,000 asylum applications last year, bucking the general trend in Europe where the number of asylum seekers halved between 2016 and 2017 .MPs spent the weekend haggling over more than 1,000 proposed amendments to the bill, which aims to both improve conditions for asylum-seekers by halving the waiting time for a response to six months, and get tougher with those deemed "economic" migrants.
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