MAMOUDZOU (AFP): French authorities said Sunday they planned to revoke birthright citizenship on the Indian Ocean island of Mayotte, the country’s poorest overseas territory, which has been struggling with social unrest and a crippling migration crisis.
Mayotte is composed of two islands that voted to stay part of France in 1973, while the others in the surrounding Muslim-majority archipelago sought independence, becoming the Comoros Islands.
Thousands of Comorans fleeing the poverty and corruption of their homeland make the trip across to Mayotte in search of higher living standards every year.
The influx has caused major tensions, with many locals on Mayotte complaining about crime and poverty. For the past three weeks activists have been staging strikes and erecting roadblocks to protest against the lack of security and the migration crisis.
“We are going to take a radical decision,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told reporters on a visit to the island on Sunday.
“It will no longer be possible to become French if you are not the child of a French parent,” he added.
He said the measure would require a change to the Constitution and would reduce “the attractiveness” of the archipelago for prospective migrants.
A hot-button issue in France, immigration regularly inflames the political class.
In December, French parliament passed a tough immigration bill adopted under pressure from the right.
In January, France’s top constitutional authority censured contentious additions made under insistence from the right and far right.