Morocco blocks repatriation of minors who arrived in Ceuta in May

by Deborah Cater
Repatriation of Illegal migrants in Ceuta hits stumbling block
del canto chambers 2

The Government is not making progress in the repatriation of hundreds of Moroccan minors. They remain in Ceuta after the massive entry of thousands of people that occurred last May.

After a first attempt in August, which was paralysed by the justice after verifying that 55 minors had been returned to Morocco without following the legal procedure, it is still not possible to continue with the returns legally. The reason, according to sources familiar with the process, is that Rabat has not responded to requests for information on the socio-family situation of each minor. This is a fundamental procedure to carry out any repatriation.

Without the collaboration of Morocco, the deployment of resources promised by the Executive of Pedro Sánchez (material means, prosecutors, interpreters and officials) to send minors back to their country is a empty words.

Was a critical situation

After the irregular entry of 10,000 people, the Police reviewed more than 1,100 children in the city. The situation was critical. There were no resources and many little ones were living in the streets. As a result, the local government pressured Pedro Sánchez’s to return them to their homes.

In August, with the support of Rabat, the local authorities, the Government delegation in Ceuta and the Ministry of the Interior accelerated repatriations that, according to the Ombudsman and pointed out by the Prosecutor’s Office of the National Court, skipped the entire legal procedure. At the time, it had taken in about 700 children.

These numbers, however, have plummeted. There are currently 425 minors in the reception centres of Ceuta, according to the local government. No one offers an official answer about their whereabouts. However, a good number of those boys have either fled to the streets with the intention of reaching the Peninsula or are already there after risking their lives in a boat or hiding in a truck, according to El País. This has been verified and confirmed by NGOs on the ground.

Spain wants to resume repatriation

In a central square in Madrid, Jawad, one of those boys, aged 17, told EL PAÍS he had sneaked into the underside of a truck to get to Andalucia. “Now I sleep in a park.”

Baycrest Wealth

Many other minors turned 18 in the last six months. Some were already of legal age when they arrived – almost 70. A small group managed to regroup with relatives in other provinces.

In September, the Ministry of the Presidency launched a working group made up of six ministries with the intention of resuming the repatriations, this time following procedure. The group agreed to send reinforcements to Ceuta to instruct files and give better care to the children. The protocol to be followed to comply with the law was also agreed upon.

Documentation required from Morocco

This protocol, prepared by Justice, but with contributions from other departments, makes it clear in its first article that before starting any repatriation procedure, requirements include a report from the diplomatic representation of the country of origin on the minor’s family circumstances. This is what Article 191 of the Regulations of the Immigration Law dictates.

If there is no such information about the family, the report must include a “written commitment” from the competent authority that it will assume responsibility for the child. This document is requested through the General Commissariat for Immigration; Foreign Affairs submits the request to the Moroccan consulate.

Different sources accompanying the process confirm there is no response from Morocco; and that without it there will be no progress. According to the same sources, the Executive did not have great expectations of completing many files. However, what it did not count on was a blockade in its initial phase.

This documentation is not the only one that Spain claims from Morocco. The Government particularly wants Rabat to send the reports on the 55 family reunions or guardianship in August. It is part of the State’s defense against possible criminal proceedings it faces. There is also no response to that.

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