Spain asks autonomous regions to receive 200 underage migrants

by Lorraine Williamson
underage migrants

MADRID – The Spanish government has asked all sub-authorities to receive 200 unaccompanied minors who arrived in Ceuta this week. This gives the emergency services more space to receive the underage migrants who are yet to come. 

The autonomous cities of Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands are exempt from this request. The Canary Islands sub-government reported that the region is already hosting 2,641 unaccompanied minor migrants. Minister Iona Belarra of Social Law said that the reception of minors in the other regions should take place immediately. 

The Belarra Ministry has now announced in a press release that the autonomous regions have committed to support the request. The sub-boards must ensure that the minors attend school, receive the necessary medical care and they must handle the legal procedures for them. Official figures on the exact number of Moroccan minors currently residing in Spain are not yet known. 

Rapid reunion with families 

According to Belarra, these are migrant children who are much younger than is usually the case and many of them would prefer to return home. The minister has undertaken, together with the other ministries, to put in place all mechanisms to reunite these young migrants with their families as quickly as possible in a safe and legal manner. 

Most critical of the government’s request are the regions of Andaucia and Murcia. According to the Andalucian sub-government, the ministry has not paid enough attention to migrant pressure that this southern Spanish region is already experiencing. In addition, the government had previously been asked for financial support to cope with migrant pressure. Nevertheless, regional president Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla says he will not leave the recently arrived children to their fate. The extreme right party Vox in Andalucia says it will not support the decision of the coalition board of PP and Ciudadanos to accept even more unaccompanied minor migrants in Andalucia. 

More concrete plan 

The Madrid sub-government wants the government to clarify the exact number of migrants involved in this issue, and also demands that a more concrete action plan be drawn up for the current crisis and for those crises that will unfold in the future. occur. 

Vice President Mónica Oltra of Valencia urged the government to comply with the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Oltra is referring to the prevention of so-called “devoluciones en caliente”, which are direct deportations without asylum procedures. The Galician sub-government, in turn, has announced that it will make the contribution it deems appropriate. 

In recent days, between 8,000-9,000 migrants have reached the Spanish autonomous city of Ceuta by swimming. According to the Ministry of the Interior, 5,600 migrants have now returned to Morocco. 

Tense atmosphere 

The crisis in Ceuta is clearly also having a major impact on the local inhabitants of the enclave. In the newspaper El Español they speak of a true nightmare that on the one hand arouses compassion but also instills great fear on the other. For many it feels as if the Moroccan migrants are coming to claim their territory. According to them, there is no question of a humanitarian crisis, rather they see it as a political move. Fear of riots, shopkeepers closed their shops at the beginning of this week, parents kept their children at home from school. Nervous residents keep each other informed in WhatsApp groups about what is happening in the streets of their city. 

“Down with Mohamed” 

Exactly why the thousands of migrants came to Ceuta, Spain, remains unclear. Thousands of children and young adults have now voluntarily returned to their own country. Most had no idea what to look for in the streets and parks of Ceuta. Their stories show the great resistance they feel towards their King Mohamed VI. “The king is corrupt, he and his family are getting richer and richer, and look how poorly we are dressed,” said 19-year-old Milad. His traveling companion Eze agrees, who indicates that he can no longer stand it in Morocco. “There is no work for us, we have no perspective,” he says. A third teenager joins the conversation and says, “We all hate the king. Down with Mohamed! ” 

Most underage migrants want to go home

Yet only a handful of young people indicate that they want to stay in Ceuta, the rest have already joined the queue towards the Moroccan border. Now that thousands of migrants have returned to Morocco, peace is slowly returning to the city. A tense rest, though. But the shops, bars and schools have now reopened and normal life has almost resumed. 

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