The Alpes-Maritimes is calling on the French government to provide an “emergency solution” to help the department manage a growing influx of migrant minors crossing the border without adult supervision.
France took in more than 336,000 migrants in 2021 according to statistics put out by the European Union. That same year, it was recorded that 25,750 of these newcomers were children unaccompanied by an adult.
ALPES-MARITIMES FEELING THE STRAIN
This wave of young people is becoming a crisis for the Alpes-Maritimes. Roughly 5,000 unaccompanied minors are believed to have arrived via the local French-Italian border so far this year and 2,000 continue to reside in the Alpes-Maritimes.
François Sauvadet, President of the Assembly of the Departments of France, says, “We have exhausted all the reception capacities of the department. We no longer have a place available, we even resort to hotels.”
Several establishments have been taken over by the young immigrants, notably in Biot and Châteauneuf de Grasse, but also in Menton, where an order was recently issued to allow a gym to be repurposed to help shelter these young people.
“The State must take responsibility”
During a meeting with Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, Justice Minisiter Eric Dupond-Moretti and the Secretary of State in charge of Children, Charlotte Caubel, Sauvadet asked for “additional means”.
“The State must take responsibility, financially and by offering an operational response… of these young people during the period of evaluation of [their] minority,” he added.
Local authorities say that the strain caused by these additional minors is diverting “human, logistical and financial resources” from universal child protection objectives and cannot be the sole burden of the department.
The plight, which “has caught the attention of the ministers”, will soon be put to French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who, it is hoped, will provide a solution to alleviate the growing pressures.
As of now, though, what form it will take is yet to be determined and the fates of many young lives remain in flux.
Photo source: Jacques Dufrenoy for Unsplash