France to revoke birthright citizenship in overseas Mayotte to stem migration

Children born on the French Indian Ocean territory of Mayotte will no longer automatically qualify for citizenship of France, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced during a visit to the overseas department on Sunday.

The change is part of efforts to stem migration to Mayotte from neighbouring islands, amid flaring tensions between locals and immigrants.

Once the reform takes effect, only children born to French parents in Mayotte will have the right to French nationality.

Currently, children born in any part of France to two foreign parents are eligible to become French citizens as teenagers.

Darmanin called it a "radical decision" that would make Mayotte significantly less attractive to would-be immigrants.

The change will mean revising France's constitution to restrict the principle of "droit du sol" – the right to citizenship of a country by virtue of being born there – in the island territory.

No other part of France will adopt the new rule, Darmanin said.

Rising tensions

According to French national statistics office Insee, of 10,600 children born on Mayotte in 2021, close to half – 46.5 percent – had two parents who weren't French.

The department saw its population increase fourfold between 1985 and 2017, according to Insee, in a combination of a high birth rate and waves of immigration.

An archipelago with some 310,000 inhabitants, Mayotte is the poorest part of France – but incomes remain higher than in nearby Comoros, an island country that has been independent of France for some 50 years.

No such condition applies elsewhere in France.

(with AFP)

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