France plans to revoke birthplace citizenship in Mayotte

This proposal risks further ramping up tensions in France following adoption of a tough new immigration law

MAMOUDZOU  -  French authorities on Monday announced a con­troversial plan to amend the Constitution to revoke birthplace citizenship on the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte, which has been struggling with social unrest and a crippling migration crisis.

France currently grants citizenship through both bloodline and birthplace, and this proposal risks further ramping up tensions in France following the adoption of a tough new immigration law.

While the left denounced the fresh plan as an­other attack on French values, some local cam­paigners in Mayotte welcomed it, and political leaders on the right and the far right quickly sug­gested it be applied across the whole of France.

The reform was announced by Interior Minis­ter Gerald Darmanin on Sunday after he arrived on the island, the country’s poorest department, following three weeks of protests there.

In Mayotte’s capital Mamoudzou, several hun­dred protesters greeted Darmanin and his entou­rage with boos and shouts of “Mayotte is angry”.

Mayotte is composed of two islands that voted to stay part of France in 1973. The others in the surrounding Muslim-majority archipelago sought independence, becoming the Comoros Islands.

“We are going to take a radical decision,” Dar­manin said. “It will no longer be possible to be­come French if you are not the child of a French parent,” he said. 

The measure would reduce “the attractive­ness” of the archipelago for prospective immi­grants, he said.

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