One of the concerns about people who have been moved to the Reception and Orientation Centres (here, here, here and there) is what will happen to asylum seekers in the Dublin procedure. The European regulation Dublin III states that asylum can only be claimed in one European country and lays down the rules for determining the country responsible for asylum claims. Most often it is the country of entry into the space of the signatory countries (the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), taking fingerprints as proof. But the most important hierarchical criterion is that of regroupment with members of the family already asylum-seekers or refugees in a signatory country, a reinforced criterion for minors and persons recognized as vulnerable ( hence the importance of reunification with family members in the UK for these people – see here, here and there).

The rule is that a person seeking asylum in another country is to be returned to the responsible country. But if the other country does not accept the return of the person within six months, it is he who becomes responsible. In the Calais shantytown there were, in particular, a few hundred people waiting for the six-month deadline for France to become responsible for their asylum claim and to not be sent back to countries inhospitable to refugees or that do not offer them opportunities to integrate such as Bulgaria, Hungary or Italy. The Dublin III regulation also provides for the possibility for a State to process an asylum application even if it is not the country responsible.

Here we find the complete ambiguity of the situation of people housed in the CAO, due to the double language of the government. On the one hand, in its public communication and in the circulars addressed to the prefects (see here, here,  and there) it asserts that the transfers of persons under the Dublin procedure present in the CAOs will be carried out; In the other it is affirmed that this will not be the case. With an ambiguous wording, that there will be no referrals from the CAO. Hence there are  prefectures that remove people from the CAO to place them under house arrest or put them in detention them to organize their deportation, while others treat all asylum applications ignoring Dublin.

A new ambiguity has emerged recently (but perhaps it is old and has just not been noticed before), we can have in the same CAO  those who applied for asylum before arriving there, and who had been placed in the Dublin procedure and remain there after their arrival at the CAO, and persons who apply for asylum once they have arrived in CAO and are not placed in the Dublin procedure even though their fingerprints have been taken in another country.

But there is a new threat to asylum seekers in the Dublin procedure. So far the French authorities have made little effort to deport to the countries responsible for the asylum claims. Things will change in the short term. Le Monde informs us that a non-publicised circular of July 19th, 2016 instructs the Prefects to intensify removals, while a call for tender of the 28th of September foresees the creation of 5,531 places of accommodation within the framework of a new scheme to prepare Dublin removals.

It should be noted that the article considers that the word of the minister, never publicly assumed , is enough to designate the CAO for the people in the Dublin procedure, despite multiple denials in the past (see here, here, here and there).

The future will tell us what will happen after the destruction of the Calais shantytown, but it is safe to bet that the misadventures of the Dublinisable in the CAO are far from over.


Dublin III or european pinball : how to send asylum seekers that none of them want from one country to another