Controversy Surrounding Proposed End of Birthright Citizenship in Mayotte

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The French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, revealed a constitutional amendment proposal aiming to abolish birthright citizenship on Mayotte—an island in the Indian Ocean grappling with severe social and security crises exacerbated by uncontrolled immigration from the Comoros. However, the announcement has not been without its critics.

Accompanied by the newly appointed Minister Delegate for Overseas France, Marie Guévenoux, Darmanin’s visit to the island, where roadblocks have paralyzed activity for nearly three weeks due to citizen collectives protesting insecurity and unchecked immigration, has stirred up mixed reactions. In Moroni, the capital of Comoros, the French minister’s announcement is met with skepticism, with some arguing that it fails to address the root cause of the issue and will not deter people from migrating to Mayotte.

On social media platforms, the proposed reform faces pointed criticism, accused of sidestepping the underlying problem. Nadia Tourqui, from the Stop Wuambushu collective, a Comorian NGO, expresses frustration: “This further confirms that the fundamental principles of the Republic stop at the coral reef of Mayotte. Today, birthright citizenship is under question. Tomorrow, it could be the death penalty or the social model… There will never be a solution for peace and security in Mayotte until we acknowledge the sovereignty of the Comoros territory as recognized by the United Nations in its entirety.”

Youssouf Ismaël Aticki, a member of the Maoré Committee, a Comorian NGO advocating for Mayotte’s return to the Union of Comoros, echoes this sentiment: “It’s up to France to confront its contradictions in light of the values it upholds and international law. We believe that the only way Darmanin could truly benefit France and the Comoros by eliminating clandestine activities on this Comorian island is to recognize the illegality of their presence and leave.”

A government source criticizes Darmanin’s handling of the situation in Mayotte, asserting that the French minister’s proposals lack foundation. According to this source, insecurity is the real issue, and abolishing birthright citizenship would not resolve it.

However, this constitutional revision has long been demanded by the Republican Party, notably by Mayotte’s deputy, Mansour Kamardine. Kamardine views it as a strong signal to potential immigrant candidates who come to Mayotte hoping to give birth, noting that their child would not be French and they would not be regularized. He emphasizes the need for additional measures such as border control.

Despite Darmanin’s satisfaction with the results of Operation Wuambushu 1, teaching unions hold a different opinion. Mouayad Madjidi, Secretary-General of Solidarity Mayotte, points out that the operation resulted in the desertion of several dozen schools and expresses concern about future operations: “Before any operation, they should first send people to identify those who live in these areas. Because most of the time, they are mothers whose children are enrolled in schools. We don’t provide support for them to improve their situation. Wuambushu destroys and brings conflicts. Young people grow up with the idea of ​​revenge because the state destroyed our homes, so we will also attack public facilities. The government must think before any demolition operation.”


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