French President Emmanuel Macron reacts during a visit at a mediatheque in Les Mureaux, Paris suburb, France, February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ludovic Marin/Pool
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The French government is set to unveil a tough new immigration bill Wednesday that is proving one of the most divisive of Emmanuel Macron's young presidency.Some workers at France's refugee protection office Ofpra were going on strike to protest the bill Wednesday, branding it "an unequivocal departure from France's tradition of asylum".France received a record 100,000 asylum applications last year.The government has defended the bill as "balanced" and said it is considering proposals on how to better integrate newcomers, including doubling the number of hours of French lessons they get and allowing asylum seekers to work.The bill also aims to cut the average waiting time on asylum applications from 11 months to six, although staff at the asylum court have raised concerns that the tighter turnaround on cases will make it more difficult to appeal.
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