Authorities in southern France are looking at proposals to administer ‘bone tests’ to migrants to determine their true ages to prevent adults accessing aid and assistance reserved for children.
French law gives special provision to vulnerable migrants such as children, but with large numbers coming without passports, documentation, and even claiming to not know their own dates of birth, it is suspected large numbers have falsified their ages to claim benefits. With towns along the French-Italian border now becoming saturated with new arrivals from the Mediterranean boats, children’s homes are now becoming completely full, and the overflow is being housed in hotels – at French taxpayer expense.
Member of parliament and president of the Alpes-Maritimes Eric Ciotti made the proposal to verify ages by administering a test to new arrivals, which could help determine the true ages of arrivals, which would be otherwise difficult to discern. The area has received the same amount of ‘unaccompanied minors’ in the past month as it did in the whole of 2014 – a problem that Ciotti says is exacerbated by the fact that once a migrant has left Italy and gone to another European country, the Italians refuse re-admission.
Ciotti suggests administering a test to all those who claim to be under the age of 21, which would involve a radiograph of the wrist, assessing the condition of the cartilage found there. Doctors say they can reliably ascertain whether any given person is younger or older than 16 – but pinpointing whether someone is 18 or 21 may be more difficult, reports TheLocal.fr. He believes people smugglers may be exploiting French law by deliberately separating children from their parents to force the state into caring for them – and encouraging elder migrants to fake their ages for fraud.
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