France's Automatic Asylum Policy for Child Migrants Raising Costly Dilemma

© Photo : Kai PfaffenbachMigrant children
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France's population of newly-arrived child migrants has skyrocketed in recent years, rising from 4,000 in 2010 to up to as much as 25,000 by the end of this year. Each child costs the French state between 40,000 and 50,000 euros annually, and they are actively used by their immigrant parents as means to establish a foothold in France.

As reported by Le Figaro, the influx of unaccompanied foreign minors has gained a well-established pattern, with human smugglers transporting these children to Europe's borders, where humanitarian organizations care for them before handing them off to states. At the local level, the new arrivals have caused a serious strain on resources, with the state required to provide them with shelter, food, education, and other services.

In 2010, the newspaper reported, there were some 4,000 cases of unaccompanied foreign minors in France. By 2017, the number of arrivals grew to 15,000. This year, French officials are expecting as many as 25,000, requiring some 800 million euros more in state spending.

Children are considered perfect clients for traffickers, given that they are automatically granted asylum. Moreover, according to French law, once they arrive in the country, they can invite their parents. This in turn provides an incentive for parents to push their children to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, where over 3,100 migrants died in 2017.

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In some cases, the issue of who is really a child also becomes a problem, with young men without identification and with the biological features of men in their twenties claiming to be between 15 and 18 also treated as minors.

Ultimately, Le Figaro suggested child migrants pose a particularly acute moral problem, serving as a real jackpot for traffickers, an expensive burden for the state, and a problem for their home countries, who are left without a future generation.

France has been among the countries hit hardest by the surge in illegal immigration facing Europe over the last half-decade, with over 323,900 asylum applications registered between 2014 and 2017. Over 1.8 million people arrived in Europe from the Middle East and Africa over the same period, creating social and economic tensions with local populations, as well conflicts between EU members, with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe refusing to accept migrant quotas.

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