Canary Islands guardianship of 26% of migrant minors welcomed in Spain

The Red Cross wraps a minor in a blanket after the arrival of a pneumatic boat in Lanzarote. / EFE

In the last three years, the rebound of the so-called Canarian Route has pushed the services of minors on the islands to the limit


The Government of the Canary Islands
legally protected as of December 31 at 26% of all unaccompanied foreign minors sheltered by public authorities in Spain and Andalusia, to 20%.

According to the data collected in its annual report by the State Attorney General's Office, at the end of 2021 they were registered in the registry of unaccompanied foreign minors throughout the country.
9,294 children and adolescentsprotected by social services.

Of them, 2,399 remained
under the responsibility of the Canary Islands (26%)1,980 were hosted by the Junta de Andalucía (21%), 1,192 depended on the Generalitat de Catalunya (13%) and 921 were under the guardianship of the city of Ceuta (10%).

In the last three years, the rebound of the so-called Canarian Route has pushed the services of minors on the islands to the limit, which came to host
almost 3,000 boyshoused in resources that are often emergency enabled to respond to this situation.

The saturation reached such a point that the General Directorate for the Protection of Children in the Canary Islands came to say publicly on February 1 that it was going to be forced to leave the minors who arrived thereafter at the Police Station if they did not receive help.
from other autonomous communitiesbecause he did not have a place left.

The President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, has repeatedly claimed
solidarity to the other autonomous communities in the reception of minors who arrive by boat to the Spanish coast, an effort that now falls mainly on the islands and Andalusia, and has even demanded that this not be a matter subject to voluntary offers, but rather ruled by law.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, last year they reached the Spanish coast in a small boat
3,048 unaccompanied minors, 7.8% less than in 2020, of which only 114 were girls (3.7%). Most of them come from Morocco (1,304), Algeria (540) and Mali (381).

To them are added another 986 children who arrived by boat in the care of adults who claimed to be their parents or other types of relatives,
almost twice as much as in 2020 (+79%). In this case, there is almost parity between boys (530) and girls (456), mainly from two countries: one from sub-Saharan Africa, Ivory Coast (379), and another from the Mediterranean, Algeria (296).

Last year, the Police carried out 882 DNA tests to verify that those foreigners who arrived by boat and claimed to be the fathers or mothers of the minors they brought with them, but could not prove it, were. 95% of the cases (841) corroborated it,
4% revealed that this was not the case (37) and four are pending further analysis.

The Prosecutor's Office acknowledges that in this process complaints continue to occur when minors are separated from the adults who brought them to Spain until the relationship is verified with genetic tests.

However, he clarifies that now the «
ordinary procedure« It is no longer taking the child to a shelter separate from his mother until the DNA result is received, but transferring both to a center for women with minors, until the relationship is proven.

In this section, the Prosecutor's Office also denounces that the services that are in charge of determining the age of immigrants who claim to be minors (and there are doubts or they cannot prove it with documents) «
they are overwhelmed« in the Canary Islands due to the »massive« arrival of small boats, to the point that last year it ended with
1,064 files of this type pending resolution in the islands.

"In view of the innumerable problems that arise around the determination of the age of possible unaccompanied foreign minors (...), the only solution would be
a specific regulatory law of the determination of the age that a judicial procedure designs, in the field of civil jurisdiction, with all the guarantees of hearing and due assistance to the possible minor“, remarks the State Attorney General’s Office.

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