When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Migrant Lives

Once Just A Gateway To Europe, Morocco Now Has Its Own African Immigrant Tensions

Analysis: As Europe closes its borders, Morocco is becoming a new immigration destination for the rest of Africa. And like Europe, it is failing to address the issue intelligently.

The changing face of Morocco
The changing face of Morocco
Saad A. Tazi

RABAT — Tensions are growing between Moroccans and immigrants from the rest of Africa. In May, Abdelhadi Khayrat, a Member of Parliament, described immigrants as "Libyan-trained terrorists conspiring to unhinge Morocco."

From local populations who are quick to throw stones to elected representatives who overstep their prerogatives, the question of immigration is something that needs to be addressed. In the cities of Taourirt, Casablanca and Rabat, local authorities recently organized wide scale raids, arresting hundreds of illegal sub-Saharan immigrants.

Stuck between a Europe that feels besieged by immigrants and the African continent where people would risk almost anything for a chance at a better life, Morocco is changing before our eyes. For immigrants, it used to be a stopover on the way to Europe, but it is slowly becoming a new El Dorado in itself. Unfortunately, the country's legal and social framework hasn't adapted to this new context.

Illegal expulsions

Stephane Julinet, in charge of legal issues at the GADEM (Anti-racist Group for Accompaniment and Defense of Foreigners and Migrants), believes the recent raids against sub-Saharan immigrants were against the law. Article 23 states that "foreigners who have been notified of their expulsion have 48 hours to ask for an annulment by the president of the administrative court." Given the fact that these arrests aren't made on a case-by-case basis and that "it is the prosecutor who decides to expel foreigners despite the law requiring an administrative decision," there is clear disregard for the legal process, says Julinet.

Article 29 specifies that a foreigner being expelled must be sent back to his country of citizenship, unless he has been granted refugee status or an asylum request is pending. Despite the clear options determined by the law, all illegal immigrants are currently being parked by the Algerian border — a border which is officially closed since 1994 — without taking into account their country of origin, how they entered Morocco, and without the help of a translator or lawyer.

This makes the whole process, from beginning to end, illegal. Given the highly sensitive context, following the law should guarantee that the rights and dignity of all the people involved are respected. For Julinet, "Morocco must apply its own laws and stop treating the immigration issue as a mere security problem. It is time for Morocco to implement a real policy for integration."

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

Ukrainian children play territorial defense fighters patrolling in the village of Stoyanka, Kyiv region.

Bertrand Hauger, Anna Akage, Lisa Berdet and Emma Albright

With the summer break around the corner and heat taking over most of Europe, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza is running, as part of its “photo of the day” section, a picture of children splashing about with their parents in a river. A refreshing photo, in stark contrast with the caption chosen by the Warsaw-based newspaper: “These children don’t have to be afraid of bombs.” The river in question is the Moskva, and these are Russian kids cooling off near the Kremlin.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

The same Gazeta Wyborcza has also reported on a Poland-based hotline, open to Ukrainian children (an estimated 500,000 of whom have found refuge in Poland) to be able to talk to a psychologist about their traumatic experiences — or simply looking for a chat in their native tongue.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ