The issue of immigrants from sub-Saharan African countries is one of the issues that has gained a lot of attention within Moroccan society. This presence has been strengthened with the transformation of the intention to receive immigrants in Morocco, since the beginning of the twenty-first century, as the country transformed from a transit area to a country of reception and stability for immigrants.
Morocco’s geographical location has been considered one of the factors tempting African immigrants from the Sahel and sub-Saharan regions to cross illegally into Europe, as a solution to escape the scourge of wars, persecution, poverty and the multiple crises that these countries know.
In order to manage the changes in the field of migration, Morocco formulated in 2013 the National Strategy for Migration and Asylum, which is based on a humane vision and respects the rights and freedoms of migrants. This enabled a set of programs and operations to be launched, such as regularizing the legal status of illegal immigrants and enabling them to access social, educational, medical and economic services, similar to the rest of Moroccan citizens.
In the absence of updated official data on the number of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa residing in Morocco, given their mobile and illegal nature, Morocco has regularized the legal status of about 50,000 people during the years 2014 and 2018, and unofficial estimates indicate the presence of more than 30,000 illegal immigrants. They are waiting for the opportunity to pass to Europe, with confirmation that the number of immigrant students enrolled in Moroccan universities and schools has reached about 19,256 during the academic season 2022-2023.
Keeping abreast of the changes that Morocco is experiencing as a country receiving immigrants, and in order to identify the impressions and perceptions of Moroccans about immigration and immigrants from sub-Saharan African countries, the Moroccan Center for Citizenship and the Moroccan League for the Defense of Human Rights conducted an opinion poll on the subject.
The completion of this survey relied on an electronic form, which was distributed to potential participants through social media, especially Facebook and WhatsApp.
The survey was carried out between February 16 and March 3, 2023, with the participation of 3,158 people from all regions of the Kingdom, as well as Moroccans abroad.
The sample participating in the survey consists of women, men and different age groups, who voluntarily accepted to participate by filling out the electronic form that they reached, emphasizing that from a scientific perspective, the results obtained do not represent the Moroccan public opinion on this issue, as much as It only reflects the opinions of the participants in this survey.
The percentage of participation in this survey reached 22.9%, and the participation of men reached 77.1% of the total number of participants.
The results obtained through this survey showed that the percentage of participants under the age of 30 was 46.7%, while the percentage of participants between the ages of 30 and 40 was 25.9%, and 13.3% for those between the ages of Between 40 and 50 years old, which is approximately the same percentage as the age group that participated in the survey over the age of 50, as it settled in its contribution at 13.8%.
Participants with university level education constituted 76.9% and secondary level 12.3%. As for the level of vocational training, their participation amounted to 7.6%. While the primary-intermediate level represented 3.1%.
62.4% of the participants have one of their relatives (fathers, sons or brothers) among the Moroccans residing abroad.
The completion of the survey coincided with a set of regional and national events directly related to the issue of migration, especially with regard to African migrants of sub-Saharan descent:
The emergence of some groups within social networks that adopt racist and hateful discourses, such as calling for not settling immigrants and not marrying them to Moroccan women. Most of the members of these groups are anonymous.
The spread of “video clips” of some sub-Saharan Africans that include racist speeches against the people of North Africa, claiming that the lands of this region belong to sub-Saharan Africans.
– The spread of “video” clips of the practices of some immigrants, especially in Oulad Zayan in Casablanca, which show the “occupation” of this public space by them, and in the absence of any interference by the elected councils that preferred to play the role of spectators.
– The statement of the President of Tunisia on February 21, 2023, adopting a racist campaign against African immigrants residing in Tunisia, in which he denounced the influx of “hordes of irregular immigrants” from sub-Saharan Africa, stressing that this phenomenon leads to “violence and crimes”, and where Qais Saeed claimed through it To what he called “a criminal arrangement prepared since the beginning of this century to change the demographic composition of Tunisia”, this statement was rejected by the African Union, a number of human rights organizations and political elites in the Maghreb and in Africa.
The most important results:
– 86% of the respondents believe that the increase in the number of immigrants will become a problem for Morocco in the future.
59% of the participants provided direct financial assistance to immigrants residing in Morocco.
44% of the respondents do not mind if Morocco becomes a receiving country for sub-Saharan African migrants, 37% of whom accept conditions. While 55% reject Morocco becoming a receiving country.
66% of the participants do not agree that Morocco becomes an alternative to permanent residence for African migrants from sub-Saharan countries who were unable to enter Europe and do not wish to return to their countries of origin, while 25% agree to this with conditions.
– 72% of the participants reject Morocco playing the role of border police in favor of Europe, in order to prevent immigrants from entering the European sphere, while 18% agree, but with conditions.
– 87% of the participants believe that the Moroccan border control should be strengthened to prevent the entry of other migrants to Morocco, while 7% do not want this and 7% do not have an opinion on the matter.
– 67% of the participants stress the idea that neighboring countries, especially Algeria, are lenient with the entry of immigrants into Moroccan soil, while 10% believe the opposite and 23% have no opinion.
– Limiting participants and participants obstacles to integration in the following areas: economic (22.2%), social (20.9%), cultural (20.1%), religious (15.2%), linguistic (15.1%), and other obstacles (6). ,6%).
Based on the results, it is clear that the participation of the age group under 30 years shows some indicators of a high level of intolerance towards immigrants compared to the rest of the age groups participating in the survey. These indicators are reflected in the following results:
53% of people under the age of 30 refused to allow migrants to access social services such as health and education, while this percentage does not exceed 26% for the rest of the age groups.
58% of the participants under 30 years of age do not accept the integration of immigrants as employees or workers in contracting and companies in Morocco, while this percentage does not exceed 32% in other age groups.
58% of the participants under the age of 30 do not accept immigrants living next to them, compared to 37% among other age groups.
70% of the participants over the age of 30 provided material assistance to immigrants, compared to only 46% for people under 30 years of age.
– 79% of the participants under 30 years of age believe that the current number of immigrants in Morocco is high, while this percentage drops to 59% for the rest of the other age groups.
71% of the age groups under 30 believe that immigrants contribute to the high unemployment rate among young people, while this percentage reaches 48% for the rest of the age groups.
Through the previous data, it is confirmed that Morocco, like the rest of the countries within the migration paths towards Europe, is not the target destination for migrants in their mobility project, but rather it is considered one of the gates available to them to pass towards the “European Paradise.” This Moroccan “door” defines the tightening of border control procedures, which puts immigrants in the position of “immigrants who have been forced to settle in Morocco.” In front of three cases:
Temporary stability, waiting for the right opportunity and waiting for the turn to cross to Europe
Final stability and integration into the Moroccan social system
Returning to their countries of origin, benefiting from the support allocated for this.
– The historical responsibility of the “colonial” European countries in the current fragile situation of the African continent as a result of the exploitation of its wealth by the colonialists in the development of its countries, and its responsibility in many of the crises known to the African continent, and the absence of a real will to redress the damage and develop the continent.
The security approach adopted by European countries, which is based on strict monitoring, border closures, and the legal criminalization of immigration, did not succeed in reducing the number of illegal immigrants, just as ignoring the basic causes and real motives for illegal immigration, such as the economic and social conditions that immigrants suffer from, limited its effectiveness. European policy in the field, and he emphasized that this policy mainly aims to export the problem of managing migration to transit countries and transferring it to countries of temporary or final reception of illegal immigrants.
There is a growth of hate speech among young people (less than 30 years old), which is far from the values of tolerance that characterize the Moroccan people. This phenomenon can be explained by the following reasons:
– A reaction against the social and economic conditions they face, especially widespread unemployment among young people, as many of the comments accompanying the poll post on the Facebook level were expressed directly, and with Facebook accounts whose name and identity were exposed, with an emphasis that some of those comments were harsh or inciting hatred.
The position of hatred of Moroccan youth came as a reaction against the speeches of some immigrants who claim that North Africa belongs to sub-Saharan Africans. So that many of these young people justified their hard-line stance with the extremism of the rhetoric of some immigrants.
Many participants brought up the thesis that Morocco is a source country for immigrants and has an important community abroad, and therefore immigrants residing in Morocco must be treated in the same way that Moroccans want their community abroad to be treated.
The superficial handling of some elected councils with the problem of immigrants’ occupation of public spaces in sensitive areas, such as the Awlad Zayan area in Casablanca, provided an opportunity for those who rejected immigration to distort the image of immigrants and intimidate Moroccans from the danger of immigration. Poor dealing with the phenomenon of organized begging in some cities also contributed to spreading A negative image of immigrants among Moroccans.
Although many Moroccans welcome immigrants to the land of Morocco to settle and live in it, they raise a number of questions regarding Morocco’s ability to meet the needs of its youth, let alone this number of immigrants who are forced to settle in Morocco against their will.
The responsibility for managing the issue of immigration should not be confined to the government only, but rather it is a shared responsibility between public actors, associations, economists and the media, towards ensuring social protection for immigrants, integrating them into the national economic fabric, and improving their access to public services.
– The need to review the role of the gendarmerie played by Morocco, especially since this role is to the extent that relieves Europe of economic, social and legal burdens, as it burdens Morocco on all these levels, undermines its previous efforts and mortgages the future of its management of the phenomenon of migration, and in addition to all this and that, it contributes, By continuing to play the role of the immigration police, it contributes to the growth of the phenomenon of racism and fuels the dilemma of incitement to hatred.
– The need to deal cautiously with the transformation of the issue of migration into a geo-strategic tool for pressure and blackmail by the countries of the North on the countries of the South, with the aim of turning it into a gendarmerie in the field of combating irregular migration without regard to the factors that impose this phenomenon, such as the weakness of international cooperation in confronting human trafficking. , and the economic and social reasons that motivate the flow of illegal immigration, the responsibility of regulating which rests with all countries jointly between the countries of origin, the countries of transit and the countries of reception.
– The need to ensure that focal points do not appear that give the impression that there is an occupation of some public places by immigrants, especially in the urban area.
– Work to spread the values of tolerance, coexistence and the culture of human rights, with the need to involve civil society organizations in public policies aimed at integrating immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa.
Inviting national institutions from Parliament, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, and the National Council for Human Rights to evaluate public policies adopted in the field of immigration, within their constitutional powers.
Work to pass a law criminalizing all forms of discrimination and racism in line with the constitution and with Morocco’s international obligations in the field of human rights protection.
– Rachid El Seddik, President of the Moroccan Center for Citizenship – 0661377144
– Adil Chiquito, President of the Moroccan League for the Defense of Human Rights – 0661121579