French authorities announced a plan on Sunday to amend the Constitution to revoke birthplace citizenship on the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte. Mayotte has been struggling with social unrest, a severe water shortage, and what the citizens call a ‘violent migration crisis’.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin arrived on the island over the weekend and revealed that the proposed amendment would no longer grant citizenship to individuals born in Mayotte unless they are the children of a French parent. The Mayotte Journal reports that the new “lifting of the land law,” ends the right of citizenship based on birth in their district.
Mayotte comprises two islands northwest of Madagascar and is part of an archipelago that includes the independent African Comoros islands. Migrants from Comoros islands flee to Mayotte, hoping to immigrate to Europe. Daramanin announced the new birthright law as a solution and said, “We will thereby cut off the attraction that the Mayotte archipelago might have.”
The African Institute for Security Studies states the diplomatic challenge is that:
‘On the one hand, French law relating to Mayotte is that if you are born in Mayotte to undocumented parents, you are not French. On the other, these kids are technically not Comorian because they were not born in the Comoros, and their parents didn’t register them in the Comoros. They become technically stateless. In Mayotte, they can’t attend school, receive public healthcare, or work. They resort to crime to survive. This is the human tragedy.’
Environmentalist MEP Marie Toussaint stated stated “Ending land rights in Mayotte will not resolve the territory’s difficulties, but it will damage our Republic.” Additionally, Le Figaro reports that while the left denounce this plan as another attack on French values, hundreds of protesters in the capital of Mamoudzou welcome it. French political leaders on the right and the far right have even suggested applying this measure across the whole of France.