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.