France Proposes Constitutional Amendment to Restrict Birthright Citizenship in Mayotte


France Proposes Constitutional Amendment

France has recently unveiled a controversial plan to amend its constitution, specifically targeting birthright citizenship in the overseas territory of Mayotte. The move aims to address concerns about immigration in the Indian Ocean islands, but it has ignited a heated debate within French political circles.

The proposed constitutional amendment, announced by French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, seeks to change the rules for citizenship acquisition in Mayotte. Under the amendment, children born to immigrants in Mayotte would no longer automatically receive French citizenship. This significant shift in policy comes in response to ongoing protests in Mayotte, where immigration from the impoverished Comoro Islands has been blamed for deteriorating living conditions.

While the move has garnered support from the far-right, socialist leaders argue that birthright citizenship is a fundamental principle that should remain “non-negotiable.” Critics fear that the amendment could set a precedent, leading the far-right to pursue similar changes in mainland France.

The announcement follows closely on the heels of France’s highest court overturning parts of a new immigration law designed to tighten access to welfare benefits for foreigners and address immigration concerns.

Mayotte, situated between Madagascar and the African mainland, is one of France’s five overseas departments in the Indian Ocean. It consists of two islands, and its history includes a 1974 vote in favor of remaining part of France. The territory attained full-fledged French department status in 2011.

The existing French citizenship framework grants nationality based on both parentage and birthplace. The proposed amendment, however, would limit automatic citizenship to individuals born in Mayotte only if at least one parent is French.

While Darmanin emphasized that this “radical measure” would be confined to the Mayotte archipelago, concerns persist about the broader implications and potential emulation by the far-right in mainland France. The proposal adds a layer of complexity to the ongoing discourse surrounding immigration and citizenship in the country.


Related Posts

Illuminating the Promise of Africa.

Receive captivating stories direct to your inbox that reveal the cultures, innovations, and changemakers shaping the continent.