Powers and Practices for Expelling Foreigners from Algeria in the Nineteenth Century: A Colonial Tool for Managing Migratory Flows

Algerian Migrations
By Hugo Vermeren

This paper focuses on the Government-General of Algeria’s elaboration of the power to expel foreigners, the legal uncertainty surrounding this power, and the framework for its enforcement in the nineteenth century. In colonial Algeria, expulsion was an expedited and discretionary measure that, as in Metropolitan France, was used as a tool for regulating migratory flows, while not aimed at precisely the same social and legal categories. Originally intended to remove individuals deemed dangerous for the colony’s safety, expulsions targeted an ever broader panel of foreign immigrants, as well as citizens from Metropolitan France, as the conditions for entering and residing in Algeria became stricter and labour conflicts became politicised. Sources available in France, Italy and Algeria have enabled us to compare and contrast different perspectives on this practice, which contributed to a weakening of the status of foreigners in the late 1890s, at the same time as the economic and political crisis in Algeria was at its peak.

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