PARIS – In the light of a parliamentary debate on the theme of immigration that will open next week, several economic questions have been decrypted by French daily Le Figaro (ER: paywall).

AME, the State Medical Aid, is one of them, as is the cost of caring for unaccompanied minors, also known as MNA. And it is the departments that took the issue head on, because the economic consequences are major, the General Assembly of the Departments of France (ADF) highlighted.

“This is a major concern for departments. The phenomenon is growing and the situation is no longer tenable. Reception facilities are overwhelmed and saturated,” the body explained to Le Figaro. And for the ADF, the situation is only getting worse.

The number of foreign minors taken care of by the departments has in fact increased four-fold between 2015 and 2018.

This is a huge financial cost for government departments, which underscored that they had to pay for “accommodation, food, clothing, social integration, but also the salary of educators and staff costs,” according to the Assembly. The body pointed fingers especially at young people staying France for several years by benefiting from this state aid.

The ADF is financing aid allocated to them by the government, which is up to 90 euros per person per day from the 1st to the 14th day of presence on the country, then 20 euros from the 15th to the 23rd day.

For the ADF, a minor costs 50,000 euros, but the state only contributes 6,000 euros for 75 percent of these newcomers, said Le Figaro. The body also denounced the attempts of adults trying to benefit from “help to which they are not entitled” .

Departments experiencing “all” the migration flows are therefore in great difficulty. “The departments must therefore face significant and, moreover, unpredictable expenses,” especially since the Italian border has become more “watertight”.

Finally, Le Figaro explained that the reception of foreign minors does not depend solely on whoever takes care of them, since they are not necessarily the ones who will eventually receive them. “We are tempted to think that migration flows will not stop overnight,” the Assembly of the Departments of France warned.

Their numbers have increased from 2,500 in 2005 to 25,000 in 2017. The cost of their accommodation will double and will approach two billion euros this year.

Thus, the number of unaccompanied migrant children has effectively increased tenfold since 2005: 2,500 unaccompanied children were admitted that year, and in June 2017, 18,000 were already registered. “The number of 25,000 unaccompanied minors received by social welfare for children will be exceeded by the end of the year,” according to state broadcaster Europe1. (see here)

“The departments cannot do it anymore because it’s up to them to shelter this group. Being a minor gives them the same rights as a child in danger and the departments owe them assistance,” Europe1 explained.

Because the places are limited, these minors (up to 95 percent are boys) are thus often lodged at the hotel for an astronomical cost: one billion euros in 2016. “This cost will logically double and approach the two billion, in 2017.”


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