The Canary Islands are not only demanding the referral to the Peninsula of immigrants who have exceeded the reception capacities of the islands -already about 22,000 this year-, but also the solidarity of other autonomous communities to refer unaccompanied minors (menas) who have arrived irregularly by sea, which are already 2,362. They are 310% more than in 2019 and a figure not reached during the crisis of the cayucos of 2006 in which, according to the Department of Social Rights, Equality, Diversity and Youth of the archipelago, the regional government “never protected more than 1,600”.
The need to transfer them has already been raised within the framework of the Social Services Delegate Commission held on December 18, in which, once again, the lack of wills has been clamorous. The connection of the menas to crime, spurred by parties like Vox, and the consequent social rejection that they arouse leads regional administrations to look the other way. Only five have committed to receiving minors who are in the Canary Islands, 95 in total. A figure well below the estimates of the island authorities, who have assessed that it is necessary to take some 500 to other parts of Spain. Specifically, Catalonia will take care of 40, Valencia of 20, Navarra 10, Extremadura others 10 and, finally, Aragón de 15. Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, the Basque Country, Asturias and Galicia have also confirmed their disposition, although they will not define how many until later. “The most optimistic maximum we handle is that together they accept 150%”, they report from the Ministry, where they acknowledge that, in percentage terms, it is a “very low” amount.
The management of minor immigrants who arrive in Spain alone is one of the most complex factors in immigration policy. Competence of the Autonomous Communities, the guardianships are concentrated in the entry regions of the boats – Andalusia, the Canary Islands, Murcia – and in Ceuta and Melilla, where the proportion with respect to its population and minimum surface is sometimes difficult to assume.
A closed protocol
After the motion of censure, the first government of Pedro Sánchez had just been released and with María Luisa Carcedo as Minister of Health, an attempt was made to agree on the autonomies to institutionalize a distribution mechanism based on the socio-economic situation of each autonomy, that it was also endowed with stable financing. It was impossible, even though thenLarge sums of money were put on the table to encourage welcome. “An attempt was made to make a more closed protocol, so that the referral of minors would not be left to the discretion of the Autonomous Communities every time there were needs like those that the Canary Islands now have,” they add in the Ministry.
In fact, the lack of such a defined procedure will now prevent the transfers to be carried out from the archipelago from being executed soon. The protocol must be drawn up, “defining who assumes the guardianship of the minors, the cost … which will take the entire first quarter of 2021”, they calculate in the government of the Islands.
Meanwhile, in the same way as to accommodate adults, it has had to resort to disused tourist hotels due to the pandemic, to attend to minors, the archipelago has set up 24 emergency infrastructures. Most, 14, in Gran Canaria, 8 in Tenerife and two in Fuerteventura. At the same time, at the end of November, they managed to get the central Executive to transfer ten million euros in an extraordinary capacity for assistance these minors.
But the help they ask for goes further. The regional department of Social Rights has indicated to this newspaper that, linked to the health saturation by Covid, there is a “funnel in bone tests” performed on immigrants claiming to be under 18 years of age but raising doubts. “There are 1,100 pending,” they report, and it is estimated that a third would actually be adults, which would ease the pressure on the host system of the menas, as they would leave it. But for this, it would be necessary to count on the acceleration of the pace of verifications, already slow, since different entities intervene such as the Canary Islands health, the Institute of Legal Medicine, later the Ministry of Justice and finally, the Prosecutor’s Office, which for decree determines the age of the individual.
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