Migration to Mayotte: how should France respond?

France’s Foreign Minister Gérald Darmanin has deployed a large contingent of police to deport and send home all illegal immigrants in the French overseas department of Mayotte, an island off the east coast of Africa, and destroy the slums where they live. Most of the migrants come from the neighboring Comoro Islands. The demolition was stopped by a court due to the lack of alternative accommodation. The debate in the media continues.

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La Croix (FR) /

Include neighbours in the solution

The eviction operation was excessive and will change little in the long term, criticises La Croix:

“The National Human Rights Commission condemned the operation as a 'terror strategy'. The local union of judges and prosecutors warned against a 'repressive and hasty criminal justice policy' at the expense of universal access to justice. The effectiveness of such an operation is also questionable. It is likely that Comorians will quickly return to Mayotte, where living conditions are more attractive even for those living most precariously. ... The migratory pressure will only ease when living standards across the entire archipelago become more equal.”

Le Figaro (FR) /

Shameless abuse of generosity

For Le Figaro, Darmanin's response is entirely appropriate:

“No one on Mayotte can dispute that the minister's intervention is justified. Illegal immigration is a major problem on the archipelago. ... People living in misery along the entire African coastline are attracted by the social benefits distributed on this piece of France. Many rush to the island so that their children can be born there and gain French citizenship - and the benefits that come with it - thanks to the jus soli rules. However, this generosity on the part of France is matched only by the malice of neighbouring states. ... Especially Comoros - from where most of the foreigners come - and which is unwilling to readmit its citizens. Yet Paris remains the main provider of development aid there.”

Mediapart (FR) /

Comorians are not foreigners there

Paris is making an arbitrary distinction, Edwy Plenel, editor-in-chief of Mediapart, protests:

“Gérald Darmanin has started a war against the poor as well as against migrants. Because the population that this spectacular operation is targeting is identical to the one that it seeks to protect. The Comorians that France wants to expel from the island by destroying their homes and parking them in camps are not foreigners on Mayotte. The people are the same, the culture, the language, the religion is the same. ... The only difference is that some of them have French citizenship and others don't.”