Overseas France – A Laboratory for the “Fight Against Illegal Immigration”

This analysis by the “overseas” collective (which includes CCFD, Cimade, Collectif Haiti, Comède, Gisti, LDH, Médecins du monde and Secours catholique) refers to the law published in the Official Journal of July 24, 2006 .

Mayotte, Guyana and Guadeloupe, targets of the law on immigration and integration of July 24, 2006:

In a very controversial article [ 1 ], the French Overseas Minister, François Baroin, presented in September 2005 an apocalyptic situation:

“  In Mayotte and Guyana, more than one in four inhabitant is an illegal alien. In Guadeloupe, the number of people from Haiti who applied for asylum rose from 135 in 2003 to 3,682 in 2004. The majority of deportations to the border concern overseas territories. If, in metropolitan France, we had the same rate of illegal immigration, that would make 15 million illegal immigrants on metropolitan soil. You can imagine the possible social tensions  ”.

No need to worry about the economic and historical reasons for migration to Guyana and Mayotte or the right of asylum which should be legitimately recognized for many Haitians in Guadeloupe, no need to wonder by what arbitrary measures the Overseas Territories obtain such a score of the removal rate. On these distant French lands, the hunt for undocumented migrants can be freed from the common law of the French Republic.

“  A particular situation, a particular policy . (…) A law will come in the next few months to complete [the current system] proceeding to the essential adaptation of our law to these particular situations in particular in Guadeloupe, Martinique and Mayotte  ”. It will be a question of ”  allowing the control of any person  ” in a border zone, of ”  seizing or destroying any vehicle having transported illegals  “, … Target of the nationalist right for two centuries, the right of the soil should not to be spared:

In Mayotte, “  two thirds of mothers are Comorians, and around 80% of them are in an irregular situation. An estimated 15% of these mothers return to the Comoros after giving birth. The situations are different, it is not a question of making a layer. This makes it possible to move the lines, to get out of taboos. The law of the soil should no longer be one.  “

The overseas measures announced by the Minister appear to a large extent in the law of July 24, 2006 relating to immigration and integration [ 2]. The outline of this law is as simple as it is brutal: open the door to “chosen” immigration which is useful to the French economy and close it to “endured” immigration (family, asylum, worker who has become useless … .). Overseas France, where derogatory foreigners’ rights have reigned for a long time, may seem far from these debates. In favor of speeches dramatizing the “invasion of illegals”, the Overseas section of the law is primarily concerned with strengthening these exceptional measures and testing a reform of nationality in isolated territories where the risk of a significant outcry from human rights defenders is weaker than in metropolitan France.

Index of the role of laboratory of the Overseas: the first of the draft laws on immigration sent to our associations, dating from November 2005, concerned only the ”  control of immigration in certain territorial communities located beyond -mer  “[ 3 ]. For Guyana alone, it put an end to the issuance of a “  private and family  ” residence permit to foreigners habitually residing in France for 10 years. For Mayotte, where the Minister of Overseas Territories had just fantasized about the invasion of French babies of Comorian mothers, he introduced the hunt for ”  paternity of convenience.” “. A month later, on December 18, these two measures were extended to all French territory; the first thus appears in the law of July 24, 2006, while the scope of the second was restricted to Mayotte, after having focused on Mayotte and Guyana in an intermediate stage.

Title VI of the law of July 24, 2006 is entitled “  Provisions relating to the control of overseas immigration  ”; it concerns Guyana, Guadeloupe and Mayotte. Mayotte is, in 2006, under the heat of the news and – therefore – privileged laboratory of new legal means of “fight against illegal immigration”. Three recent parliamentary missions, two from the Senate [ 4 ] and one from the National Assembly [ 5 ], went there; their reports inform the objectives of Title VI of the law.

The Outre-mer collective presents here the provisions of the law of July 24, 2006 specific to Guyana, Guadeloupe and Mayotte: exceptional measures relating to the control and removal of migrants and the sanctions of undocumented foreigners or those who support them; threats to access to French nationality and reinforced procedures for controlling “paternities of convenience”. This analysis is in addition to that, relating to the whole of the law, carried out by the collective “United (e) s against disposable immigration” [ 6 ], two extracts of which are cited.

The amendments relating to Overseas France made by the National Assembly to the bill presented by the government are as follows:

  • extension to Mayotte of article L611-3 of Ceseda allowing fingerprints to be taken of foreigners not admitted to entry into French territory (article 104);
  • creation of an “immigration observatory” in Guadeloupe and Martinique (article 105) as the law of November 26, 2003 had done – without much effect … – for Réunion and Guyana;
  • abolition of the jurisdiction of the cadi for the marriage of persons covered by civil status under local law in Mayotte, only marriage at the town hall having effect on civil status (article 111, see p.13));
  • multiplication by ten of the maximum fine to which is liable, in Mayotte, the employer of a foreigner without authorization – 3600 euros instead of 360 – (article 112-I, see p.7);
  • various minor styling details and references. On the “Overseas” section of the law, the Senate made only minor changes.

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