Hamid (fictitious name) had a special bond with the sea, the protection teams of Ceuta detailed in the documents and emails exchanged with the different autonomous communities. The adolescent, he said, dreamed of being a lifeguard. The information reached the ears of the technicians of the Galician minors’ service. They decided to send him to one of the few “family houses” located in a coastal town in the region.
The bishop of Cádiz refuses to give up an old asylum to the Government of Ceuta to take in Moroccan minors
He is one of the minors transferred in recent months from Ceuta, through the distribution mechanism of 200 children and adolescents, committed by the majority of the autonomous governments, under the coordination of the Ministry of Social Rights, after the migration crisis that arose in May in the autonomous city. The process advances, in general, at the pace that the procedures linked to a device allow, which is being applied based on the individualized characteristics of the minors in custody, as explained to elDiario.es by different regional executives and the portfolio directed by Ione Belarra .
Some communities, however, have solved the bureaucracy in a more agile way than others. So far, 155 children have been distributed to different parts of the peninsula. Only four autonomies (Asturias, Madrid, Murcia and Euskadi) have not yet received any minor, due to the “bureaucratic” problems linked to the management of the files of transfer of guardianship or guardianship, as explained by the Minors’ Area of Ceuta and from the governments that have not yet welcomed any migrant children from the autonomous city.
“It is necessary to value the reaction of all the autonomous communities that as soon as the crisis situation occurred, they accepted the proposed distribution, except Madrid -which voted against-“, says Violeta Assiego, general director of Children’s Rights. “The different autonomous governments are getting around all the bureaucratic difficulties that the transfer of 200 minors entails. The decisions related to the process are being taken individually, case by case, despite the special situation that Ceuta is experiencing,” adds Assiego. The Ministry of Social Rights works to promote a stable mechanism for the distribution of minors, to which they can turn in emergency situations, with the aim of avoiding the bureaucratic obstacles alleged by all regional executives contacted by elDiario.es.
The first departure, of eleven minors, took place on June 11 to the Balearic Islands. Given the lack of available places in the island councils – on which the reception of minors depends -, the Government looked for an alternative to meet the quota assigned in May. “There were three kids for whom there was no space. Although we have no competences, we asked Ceuta to maintain the guardianship of these children, and we invited these young people to be in Mallorca under the supervision of the Government”, details Fina Santiago, Minister of Affairs Archipelago Social.
Based on its resources, the Balearic Executive offered to receive the adolescents closest to the age of majority, since the Government has an emancipation program for ex-ward youth, which guarantees a process of accompaniment once they reach 18, one of the moments that unaccompanied foreign minors live with the greatest anxiety, due to the lack of opportunities they face. “Some of them were concerned about the approach of their birthday, but we explained that we would support them here,” says Santiago.
A week after leaving for the Balearic Islands, 14 kids left for Andalusian protection resources. Among them, the Andalusian Government received a child with an “extremely vulnerable” profile who had arrived in the city in the massive entrance of May. At the end of that same Castilla y León made eight of the 18 transfers agreed in May.
The last week of June, 20 minors were received in Galicia. “We tried to work with the greatest agility possible, understanding that the situation facing Ceuta was complex. We were talking about an emergency, because the Ceuta administration had to attend to these minors in decent conditions, but it was overwhelmed”, says Joaquín Rey, general director of Childhood of the Xunta de Galicia. In coordination with the Ceutí Minor Area, the Galician protection service distributed the minors in the reception areas that, in their opinion, were better adapted to the particularities of the Moroccan kids.
“Before the transfer took place, we knew the profiles of minors who were coming, which has helped us to be able to find a formula that is as suitable as possible for each one,” explains Rey. “We had several options: create a specific center to serve them; or distribute them in different centers, thus avoiding their concentration and facilitating their inclusion with the rest of the children.” The Xunta chose to separate the minors (in pairs, trios or alone, depending on the assessments of Ceuta) and distribute them in “family homes”, small centers with a maximum of eight places.
Extremadura (11 of the agreed quota plus two vulnerable), La Rioja (5), Catalonia (15 plus a young woman reunited with her relatives), Aragón (9), Cantabria (7 plus as many vulnerable), Valencian Community (25), Castilla –La Mancha (14) and Navarra (6 transferred last week) have also already received the children and adolescents they promised to host.
The missing exits
The next departure is expected to take place towards Asturias. In the “next two or three weeks”, eleven minors will be transferred to the region, as confirmed by a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Social Rights. Euskadi, which is responsible for hosting eight children, is also in an advanced stage of the procedure, after receiving this week “the go-ahead” from the Ceuta government, explains a spokesperson for the Department of Social Policies of the Basque Country.
The communities that have not yet signed the necessary agreements to activate the transfers are Madrid (20) and Murcia (7). According to sources from the Executive of Ceuta, both governments are working on the preparation of the mandatory reports and files “in a climate of maximum collaboration.”
“We are finalizing the administrative processing and all the paperwork required by the solidarity and collaboration agreement,” explains a spokesman for the Department of Social Policy of the Community of Madrid, who assures that the regional government has already reserved 20 places to receive the minors that corresponds to him. Sources of the Executive of Murcia assure that they are waiting to resolve “a procedure” to be able to proceed “shortly” to the transfer.
In addition to the 200 places committed in May, some autonomous communities have agreed in these months to receive a greater number of minors, due to their “especially vulnerable” situation. Sources of the Executive of Ceuta assure that it “values” and “appreciates” the willingness of different regional governments to take charge of more adolescents than those initially assigned.
At the La Esperanza Temporary Rehousing Center there are currently only 14 minors in foster care before the arrival of a thousand children and adolescents in May. The initial agreement focused on the transfer of 200 kids tutored by the city before the diplomatic crisis with Morocco. Given that there are still 56 pending transfers, the local administration has proposed to the pending regions to include young people with vulnerable profiles who arrived in May, as well as the adolescents attended by the Engloba association.
In addition to the regional governments, different non-governmental organizations that collaborate with the Government of Ceuta in managing the care of unaccompanied migrant minors that it welcomes have valued the “meticulous” work carried out by the Minors Area led by Antonia Palomo to organize transfers to each autonomy “taking into account not only the possible existence of relatives or close friends of each child in the different territories, but also the formation of groups by personal affinity in order to facilitate their integration in the destination as much as possible”.
Conditions of “absolute precariousness”
Apart from this distribution by communities, the Autonomous City has managed to regroup with relatives in different parts of Spain and Europe “about thirty” adolescents who arrived in Ceuta in May, according to the local Executive, who has given up on continuing to ask for help from the rest of the communities to alleviate the “unbearable” pressure that they say they suffer and to improve the reception conditions of “absolute precariousness” in which minors find themselves.
According to the president of Ceuta, Juan Vivas, his decision is based on the fact that the city “cannot be” for immigration or a “prison” or a “green passport to Europe.” In his opinion “the phenomenon is structural” and that of transfers to other regions “would end up not being a provisional solution” with the risk of presenting the city as “a problem”, so he is committed to “the return” of the minors as soon as possible to their country as a “general principle” of action.
Social entities do not think the same. The Spanish Childhood Platform has asked the Government of Pedro Sánchez to “provide resources for the care of children” and to “coordinate with the Autonomous Communities the support to welcome them into the protection system when the individualized evaluation so recommends it.” The Director of Incidence and Policy of Save The Children, Catalina Perazzo, has once again demanded in light of the situation in Ceuta “a mechanism of stable and mandatory co-responsibility for the autonomies that takes into account the regions with greater migratory pressure and give swift responses, since the children cannot continue to be cared for in conditions that are not acceptable three months after the emergency. ”
Hamid, the minor sheltered in Galicia who dreamed of being a lifeguard, has not yet been able to work in the rescue of lives at sea, but has already completed a summer internship in the hospitality sector, explains the director general of Children of the Galician Government . Other adolescents welcomed in the Balearic Islands have already found work in Menorca, indicates the Minister of Social Policy of the Government, who has verified the desire that these kids had to leave Ceuta, in search of job opportunities: “In a way, very spontaneously one of They told us: ‘We are better here, because there are many of us there.’ The personalized accompaniment they require is possible here, “concludes Fina Santiago.