France’s department with highest number of illegal immigrants on brink of civil war

By Olivier Bault
11 Min Read

Mayotte is a small island in the Indian Ocean and one of France’s overseas departments. It is also the country’s only department where foreigners, most of them illegal immigrants and from the neighboring islands of the Union of the Comoros, with which it forms the Comoro archipelago, make up half of the population.

Thanks to the successive governments in Paris clinging to their cherished principle of jus soli (birthright citizenship), which makes any child born of an illegal immigrant on French territory automatically entitled to a French passport when he or she comes of age, Mayotte can also boast France’s highest birth rate, with a record 10,700 live births for some 310,000 inhabitants in 2022, and its capital’s birth rate is said to be France’s highest in terms of the number of children born in relation to the population.

And all this is still happening although, for Mayotte only and since 2018, for a child to be entitled to French citizenship, one of the two parents has to have been staying legally on French territory for at least three months before the birth.

If France had the same proportion of live births all over its territories, this would translate into over 2.3 million births each year, whereas the actual number for 2022 is around 720,000.

Mayotte is also the French department with the highest proportion of Muslims, at 95 percent, and despite its public services and public safety having fallen to third-world country levels under the burden of uncontrolled immigration, it is still much richer than the remaining islands of the Comoro archipelago or than the nearby African countries of Madagascar and Mozambique. 

Mayotte was the only island of the Comoro archipelago whose population voted to remain part of France in the 1970s, and it became France’s newest department after a referendum was held on the island in 2009.

Unfortunately, it is now often called “France’s Lampedusa in the Indian Ocean,” and it is a showcase of how massive and uncontrolled immigration driven by pro-immigration laws (like the jus soli principle), lenient governments, and left-leaning pro-migrant courts can bring a territory to the brink of civil war. As such, it could prefigure France’s future in a few decades.

In the latest development last week, the French government failed to dismantle slums where illegal immigrants live and send them back to where they came from. A French court said the dismantling of slums could not go ahead, and the Comorian government announced it would not take back its nationals in spite of a 2019 agreement whereby Paris paid €150 million in exchange for the Union of the Comoros accepting the return of its illegal migrants.

The legal part of the population of Mayotte is so fed up that the deputy president of the department, centrist Salime Mdere, said last week on TV that in order to deter what he called young Comorian “terrorists” from assaulting and robbing French citizens, the authorities would have to kill some, “and I am weighing my words,” he insisted several times.

It was announced in the French media on Friday that the helpless French government would seek to take the man to court over his alleged calls to hatred and violence, although such a call is clearly the result of many years of government inaction against the massive immigration and insecurity submerging this French territory.

Another indicator of how much the locals are fed up with the French government’s incapacity to act against illegal immigration is that in the 2022 presidential election, the anti-immigration candidate Marine Le Pen got 43 percent of the vote in the first round and 59 percent in the second round in Mayotte while she had obtained, respectively, 27 percent and 46 percent five years earlier.

In general, Marine Le Pen won last year’s presidential election in all of France’s overseas territories, most of which are marred with poverty and insecurity problems, albeit not to the extent of Mayotte, while she had lagged far behind Emmanuel Macron in 2017. It is worth noting that Marine Le Pen and her National Rally’s excellent results in those territories inhabited mostly by people of color were a big blow to the pro-migrant mainstream media’s claim that the National Rally is a racist political party.

Last November, amid rising violence and insecurity in Mayotte, Marine Le Pen and her party voted in the French National Assembly to suppress the jus soli principle on the Indian Ocean island, something they had demanded for years, but the proposal was rejected. When defending the National Rally’s amendment in the lower house of the French parliament, Le Pen criticized those who have a mercantile vision of France and would like to give up on this overseas territory because it costs money. “They are our countrymen,” she claimed, demanding that the French interests and French citizens in Mayotte be defended.

The failed (as of the end of April) “Wuambushu” operation that was meant to dismantle slums and deport the illegal migrants has the support of an overwhelming majority of the island’s legal inhabitants and also 75 percent of the French in general, according to a poll published last week.  

Estelle Youssoupha, a French MP from Mayotte, believes this operation should be maintained and that it is meant to last over several months. “I would like people to understand that when they see the clashes between youth gangs and law enforcement forces on their TV screen every evening, it is our everyday life in Mayotte, so saying that Wuambushu is triggering the violence is a lie,” she said on Sud Radio on April 28. “We have to succeed, else the population will take up arms,” she warned.

Mayotte “is a strategic space in perdition in the Indo-Pacific zone,” warned Mansour Kamardine, a center-right (LR) deputy, also from Mayotte, last fall. “With this lack of firm border control, with the state failing to intervene, our department is experiencing waves of migration that are becoming uncontrollable and causing this insecurity.”

Since 2011, the influx of immigrants from the Comorian islands has increased tenfold. While the official population, including those registered as illegals, is 310,000, the actual number is estimated at anywhere between 400,000 and 500,000.

Young illegal immigrants, who do not attend school, are the scourge of the inhabitants of Mayotte. “They have only two choices. Either they starve to death on the street, or they steal to make a better life for themselves,” lamented Mansour Kamardine. “They do not respect the law of the French Republic. Violence is the only thing they understand.”

Even school buses are regularly assaulted by violent criminals armed with machetes. Ambdilwahedou Soumaila, the mayor of the capital of Mayotte, Mamoudzou, talks of terrorist attacks too: “It is a terrorist enterprise. They gather with 40 to 50 machetes. They want to kill and cut up people. They steal, they plunder the equipment of the public administrations and steal what they find in cars. They take all this on boats that leave for the Comoros. It is a terrorist destabilization of a whole territory. They attack the Republic and the honest inhabitants.”

At the end of November last year, MP Estelle Youssouffa warned of a looming civil war on the island of Mayotte. According to the French statistical office INSEE, In 2018-2019, 18 percent of households in Mayotte reported having been victims of a burglary or theft, which was 4 times the level in continental France. Half the population of the island felt insecure in their home or neighborhood, which was five to six times the level in continental France.

And things have only gotten worse since then. In 2022 alone, crime went up sharply again compared with the previous year (+16 percent for homicides, +20 percent for armed robberies, and +33 percent for motor vehicle thefts, according to the French interior ministry’s statistics).

“Mayotte will certainly be our future in metropolitan France if we do not take control of it now”, warned the National Rally’s leader Jordan Bardella last November, while calling not only for forced repatriations and an end to jus soli but also for the deployment of French navy ships to control the sea borders.

But the French political authorities have always refused to act tough on immigration, in Mayotte as elsewhere, and they keep refusing to do so even though the far-reaching consequences of such inaction in the long run for France and Western Europe have now become the present reality in this French overseas department.

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