The president of the Government of Ceuta, Juan Vivas (PP), has questioned this Tuesday that the conditions in which Spain and Morocco agreed to start the repatriation of migrant children alone to the neighboring country last Friday should be subject to the Immigration Law and He has indicated that this is a “legal” dilemma that he hopes the courts will resolve by Friday, the period in which forced returns have been suspended, extending the precautionary measures issued this Monday to all children and adolescents sheltered in the city by a Ceutí court.
At a press conference with his counselor for the Presidency, Mabel Deu, the local executive leader emphasized having managed to activate the 2007 Agreement between the two countries to promote the return of unaccompanied migrant minors from Ceuta, whose sovereignty Rabat claims, is a “historic milestone” that must be valued above all in political terms and in response to a “humanitarian emergency” such as the one that, he says, occurred between May 17 and 19 with the irregular entry into the city of 12,000 people.
“We are convinced that it has acted correctly from the legal point of view,” Vivas recalled. “The agreement only says that the governments will agree on how to carry them out, always fulfilling the good of interest of the minor. Nowhere does it say that you have to have individualized interviews,” added the local president, who expressly about the obligation collected in the text of acting with “strict observance” of Spanish legislation has said that “the Courts must clarify whether the procedure should be the agreed or what the Aliens Law says.” “This had never been set in motion and the path is made by walking,” he said a day after a Ceuta court had warned that the pact in which the Interior and the local government are protected to activate the return plan also must “comply with Spanish legislation”, which requires opening an individualized procedure on each return.
The president reiterated at a press conference that conducting individualized interviews to return migrant minors to Morocco does not imply a legal obligation, based on the 2007 pact between Madrid and Rabat: “The agreement, as we understand it, it does not establish the mandatory nature of individual interviews, “said Vivas, who argues that the only requirement is” to agree on a procedure between the two governments. ” However, un Ceuta court has concluded that the agreement in which the Interior and the local government are protected to activate the returns requires compliance with Spanish and international legislation, which in turn establishes that any return of a child or adolescent carries with it an individualized procedure.
The President of the City has claimed responsibility for the actions carried out by the local administration in the repatriations carried out (a total of 61, including six young people who, when crossing the border, were found to be over 18 years old) and has emphasized that it has acted “in a joint and coordinated manner” with the central government, which has thanked the “speed” and diligence to reach an agreement with Rabat that “presumes” that it will have been “not at all easy, rather everything otherwise”.
“It has acted in the interests of the minor because everyone recognizes that where they can best be with their family and their people in their environment, and the action fulfills that priority objective,” Vivas added, emphasizing that their Fostering in “provisional resources such as a sports center and camps” or in the “subhuman settlements” that populate those who are still on the street “cannot be prolonged without an alternative solution.”
From his point of view, “expeditious and effective measures” were needed to alleviate the “unbearable pressure” unloaded on Ceuta and to “prevent minors from continuing in conditions of absolute precariousness.” That is, he believes, what was done, although he has admitted that “doubts” may arise in light of the criticism received from the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Ombudsman, multiple NGOs, some ministries and even the United Nations.
“We are convinced that it has acted correctly from the legal point of view, but we fully trust the Justice and we will abide by its resolutions,” he has advanced on the possible modification of an operation that in the selection of the first young people to repatriate, it was first the age criterion (from oldest to youngest) and that the SAMU Foundation workers had not detected “situations of vulnerability” in them.
The president has implicitly acknowledged that there are no individualized reports of each expelled child (Save The Children has barely been able to personally interview about 350 out of a total of 700), but has also argued that the City has already facilitated at least thirty family reunions in the rest of Spain and Europe and even emergency transfers to other autonomous communities for young people in whom they found higher risk factors.
The Minister of the Presidency, competent in matters of minors, Mabel Deu, has not quantified the number of “vulnerable” young people already identified as such who, therefore, would be excluded from the expulsions if they are retaken (“the objective is that all come out “, according to Vivas), but he has remarked that they are being cared for by SAMU and Engloba in reserved and isolated spaces.
In what he has not wanted to delve beyond recognizing some differences in criteria is in the position of the City’s Child Protection Service, which has requested protection from the Prosecutor’s Office so that the children and adolescents of whom it has taken charge are not expelled expeditiously and whose boss, Antonia Palomo, expressly demanded a protocol in accordance with the legislation to order returns.