Minor Moroccan migrants in Ceuta will not be returned

by Lorraine Williamson
Moroccan migrant
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CEUTA – The court of Ceuta has decided the government’s planned repatriation of a large group of minor Moroccan migrants has been stopped for the time beingThey will not be sent back to Morocco without going through the legal procedures. 

On August 16, the immediate deportation of eight minors was already stopped in order to investigate the matter further. Shortly before that, at least 55 children and young people had already been repatriated to Morocco. However, with the decision of the judge, the agreement between Spain and Morocco on the return of the young people has now been broken. 

Meeting Prime Minister and Regional President Ceuta 

In order to resolve this issue, Prime Minister Sánchez has invited Ceuta regional president Juan Jesús Vivas for a meeting. Vivas supported the agreement reached between the Spanish Prime Minister and Morocco. However, at the moment it is still unclear what will happen to the more than 700 Moroccan children and young people who are still in Ceuta. Several autonomous regions have already indicated they are not prepared to accept some of them in the regional reception centres. 

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Criticism of trust in Morocco 

Sánchez fully supported the repatriation of the young people. Because Morocco had agreed to the agreement to take responsibility for the family reunification of these migrants. The Moroccan authorities would also provide information about the final destination of each young migrant. Several aid organisations as well as coalition partner Unidas Podemos announced Morocco cannot be entrusted to care for these minors. 

Judge’s ruling complicates situation 

The court’s verdict does not exactly improve the crisis in Ceuta. Even if the government makes sufficient resources available to go through all individual procedures as quickly as possible, this will still take too long for the situation that has become untenable. One option is to transfer some of the migrants to other regions within Spain. But that is exactly what the Spanish prime minister wanted to prevent with the repatriation agreement concluded with Morocco. Moreover, the question then arises as to which regions should then take care of the reception of young people. 

The judge ruled that the Spanish immigration law may not be violated “in any case”. This stipulates that there must be a file for every migrant with the necessary information that justifies the deportation. The argument of the regional government of Ceuta that this is now an emergency has been brushed aside. In May, more than 12,000 Moroccan migrants came to the Spanish enclave in a short time, including 1,500 minors. So there are now more than 700 of them still on Spanish territory. 

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