Soil law in Mayotte: “We can go further by questioning public policies”

Should we go even further in the exception to Mayotte ? Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, has decided: for him, the reduction of jus soli in this department is a necessity to reduce illegal immigration to the island, particularly from the nearby Comoros, but also from countries of ‘East Africa. Traveling on the island for the transition to the year 2023, he reaffirmed his desire to propose to Emmanuel Macron a bill to modify the conditions of this right of access to nationality in the archipelago of Indian Ocean. The substance of the measure is not new. In 2018, the “asylum and immigration” law had already changed the law of the soil in Mayotte for the first time. At the time, parliamentarians had adopted a provision conditioning access to French nationality for newborns in Mayotte to the regular and uninterrupted presence on the island of at least one of the two parents for three months. Today, Gérald Darmanin therefore wishes to extend this period to one year.

READ ALSO : Insecurity, demographic pressure… Mayotte, an island at the heart of all storms

Not sufficient, the law of 2018? ” We have not observed a decrease in births or arrivals of migrant boats “Since the implementation of this text, indicated on January 1 on France Info the independent deputy Estelle Youssouffa. ” We must fight against the social and administrative attractiveness of the territory “, explained the Minister of the Interior last August, during his previous visit to the island. It must be said that Mayotte is facing record immigration figures: in 2018, 48% of the Mayotte population was foreign, according to INSEE figures. In this territory, the socio-economic conditions are particularly degraded. In 2021, the unemployment rate for 15-29 year olds stood at 43% of the age group, a record in France. On the island, local elected officials denounce a saturated labor market, public services overwhelmed by demographic demand and skyrocketing insecurity.

The LR deputy for Mayotte Mansour Kamardine, re-elected last June, supports the measure to toughen soli law proposed by the Minister of the Interior, but calls for ” go even further “to fight against public policies” illegal immigration magnets in Mayotte.

Marianne: Gérald Darmanin defends the project to toughen soli law in Mayotte. Is this a measure that has become essential on the island?

Mansour Kamardine: Unless we accept the tangent that has been taken to make Mayotte a territory populated by foreigners, this proposal makes good sense. Even if I consider that we are already very late, it seeks to recover lost territories. The question of jus soli in Mayotte has been raised since 2005. At the time, all the constitutionalists opposed to the idea came out with the most far-fetched arguments. Finally, in 2018, the Constitutional Council ruled by saying that the right to nationality was not a constitutional competence and that the legislator could reform it. It is therefore a measure that goes in the right direction, even if it is insufficient. We could go even further by calling into question a certain number of public policies here which are like magnets attracting illegal immigration.

READ ALSO : Illegal immigration, poverty, riots: why Mayotte remains a complex file

Some even propose to totally abolish the law of the ground in Mayotte. In your opinion, is the government going far enough on the issue with the minister’s proposal?

I fully support this deletion. First of all, it should be remembered that the right of the soil in Mayotte is a recent right, it has only been 15 or 20 years that we have had the right to it on the island. So at that level, I don’t think deleting it is a problem. Through jus soli, there are 11,000 additional births every year in Mayotte. Schools are totally overwhelmed. The question of free access to healthcare for all foreign populations in Mayotte must also be raised. Treating people who are in a vital emergency is one thing, treating minor sores for free, it helps to attract illegal immigration. We have to ask ourselves about the maintenance of these policies. As long as these are subjects that in no way affect constitutional jurisdiction, I do think that we can abolish the jus soli in Mayotte.

READ ALSO : Caledonia, Guadeloupe, Mayotte… Between France and its overseas territories, a trust to be regained

Mayotte produces an average of 7,000 young French people of foreign origin in Mayotte every year. 80% of the kids here have parents who are of foreign origin. If nothing is done, within five or ten years, 95% of the island’s population will be of foreign origin. Imagine that France was made up of 70% foreigners: I’m not sure we would resist any more the idea we have of democracy.

In your opinion, what other decisions should Gérald Darmanin’s proposal be coupled with to limit this immigration?

Already, we must decide to have total control of our borders. We must also continue to bring back all those who are questioned here, and fight the known networks which have not been dismantled so far. In truth, you need a real global plan to get a grip on the phenomenon. Mayotte lacks 800 classrooms. It is the kids who pay the costs because they do not benefit from the same education as other French children who are in Paris or Marseille. We cannot continue in the same direction. We want Mayotte to be proud of what it is. The state must protect this population.

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Soil law in Mayotte: “We can go further by questioning public policies”

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