France’s move to revoke birthright citizenship in overseas Mayotte causes dismay in Comoros

A speck of France in the Indian Ocean has become the latest battleground over the laws on immigration following the French government’s announcement of a plan to deny citizenship to children born on the island of Mayotte to foreign parents.
Children born on the French Indian Ocean territory of Mayotte will no longer automatically qualify for citizenship of France, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced during a recent visit there. This announcement comes amid major tensions on Mayotte over the influx of migrants from the nearby Comoros, an island country that has been independent of France for some 50 years. Thousands of Comorans fleeing the poverty of their homeland make the trip to Mayotte every year in search of a better life there. Hence it’s hardly surprising that for many in Comoros, the move has come as a shock, though not all are convinced it will stop people from attempting to leave.
Hundreds of people arrive every week in boats from the Comoros, one of the poorest countries in Africa that lies just 70km away, along with an increasing number of asylum seekers from the Great Lakes region of Central Africa. This influx of migrants have made many Mayotte residents complain about crime, poverty and the strain on resources as the islands grapple with a severe drought. Amid flaring tensions between locals and immigrants, activists on Mayotte have been staging strikes and erecting roadblocks to protest the negative effects of mass immigration. Darmanin called the immigration reform a “radical decision” that would make Mayotte significantly less attractive to would-be immigrants in that henceforth only children born to French parents in Mayotte will have the right to French nationality.

About Geraldine Boechat 2680 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia