The British Minister of State for Immigration announced last Friday the end of the procedure allowing a legal access to Great Britain for all minors expelled from Calais, either for family reunification or under the Dubs amendment. It specifies that the procedures will continue from France. This supposes that the French Prefectures are actually dealing with this type of situation and that the Home Office is giving them an answer, which is clearly not what happens today, and which has been hardly made to work due to legal complaints before the destruction of the slum in Calais, and then carried out on a larger scale for the dismantling, as an exception.
In fact it is still pending the situations of those initially considered by the Home Office as minors, then as majors, sometimes in spite of the existence of uncontested documents, other times refused despite the existence of relatives -for the moment no negative decisions have been notified to the concerned people. There are also minors that have been sent to adult CAOs (Centers of Welcoming and Orientation -see here, here, here and there), for whom it is not known if and how they will be able to have their minority ever recognized, and who did not have access to the Home Office procedure. We could also ask ourselves what about those minors who have started a procedure with the Home Office and then disappeared in the course of events. Thus, there is room for a wide-ranging discussion on if it is possible for people to have access to independent legal support and to assert their rights.
Undoubtedly revealing of the general unclearness in the non-rights zone in which the minors have been put, the discrepancies of number concerning minors expelled from Calais: 2,200 on the newspaper Le Monde “according to Paris “(which means according to an official government source), 1,941 according to a letter from the Ministry of the Interior in response to a open letter from some associations; 1,700 according to The Independent (but for the only day of 2 November ). It is possible that Le Monde includes in its number the few 230 minors who legally went to the United Kingdom before the dismantling, and that the gap between the Ministry of Interior is due to the minors sent to CAOMI before November 2, and the minors who left Calais on November 3. But we don’t know much what to say, about around 500 minors.
It is not known as well how many minors disappeared between the departure from Calais and the arrival in CAOMI (we can just think of this bus that left to Marseille and arrived with only one minor on board), nor how many have left the centers since their arrival (as example, that of Sion was empty after a few days, despite an wonderful view of the Lorraine countryside).
Being isolated minors, so people are considered to be in danger that the Social Assistance for Children has a legal obligation to protect, that’s a bit out of place. Not so long ago, Romania was pilloried for a way smaller number of children being on the streets.
And for those who have not been accepted by the Home Office, or who will not leave CAOMI to go again try crossing of the border with the UK the illegal way, for them all will begin the obstacle course to be recognized as minor by the French authorities, and to finally see their rights recognised.
This is all the more, while some associations announce some Christmas Tree operations, dramatically few are alongside these young people to help them in accessing their rights and support them building their future.