Germany to build orphanages in Morocco to deport minors

Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) is planning to build homes in Morocco as places to deport underage unaccompanied migrants who have broken the law, or who want to return voluntarily. A BAMF document leaked to the “taz” newspaper shows that two homes have been planned for now, each with 100 places, at a cost of 960,000 euros ($1,050,000) per year. The orphanages would include medical facilities, as well as some sort of schooling and vocational training, the plans said, and would also be available to local homeless children and young people. Though they are still in the early stages of planning, building on the homes is expected to begin this year, with a test phase set for 2020. “Appropriate NGOs” would be sought to build and run the facility, with “appropriate EU states” helping with the funding, “taz” reported. Sweden has already been asked to help, and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia is named as a partner in the enterprise. The BAMF referred DW’s request for comment to the interior ministry, whose spokesman would not confirm the details of the plan printed in “taz,” but sent a government answer to an official Green party question, dated from March, which confirmed that such homes were being planned. The homes are supposed to “create prospects for staying and prevent potential illegal migration to Europe,” the government answer said.
The plans have already been condemned by the political opposition – though with some cautious caveats. In response to the government, Green party Bundestag member Luise Amtsberg, who submitted the official question, welcomed the idea of “helping disadvantaged minors in Morocco on the ground,” and said offering schooling was the “right approach.” Stephan Dünnwald, of the Bavarian Refugee Council, was even more scathing about the idea, and questioned whether it was even legal. “This would break a taboo,” he told DW. “At the moment, minors can only be deported if they’re put into the care of a legal guardian – that is, if the parents are standing at the airport to pick them up. If they’re going to build homes there, it’s legally and morally a very questionable business.” Dünnwald, who has observed how migrants are dealt with when they are deported to Kosovo, also wondered which NGOs could be found to run such homes. “It’s very difficult to monitor such projects at all, regardless of who is found to run them,” he said. “If it’s Moroccan NGOs – the better ones will probably not want to participate, and so they’ll find some NGOs who are interested in the good financing. And you won’t have any control over what happens, how the young people are treated, and how you ensure that they stay there – if it’s not supposed to be a closed home.”

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