Ter Apel has almost the same number of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers as at the height of the crisis last year. The question is whether it is possible to arrange beds for all the young people for the coming night.
Ter Apel has capacity for 55 of these unaccompanied minor foreigners (AMVs). These young people come to the Netherlands without parents and apply for asylum here.
The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) has long since increased the number of reception places for these young people to 120. It is now so busy that 330 places are occupied by unaccompanied minors, says the spokesman for the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers. “We used our abilities to the fullest.”
The number of single young people in Ter Apel is almost at last year’s crisis level. At its peak, there were approximately 360 unaccompanied minors in Terre Apel. “This is the limit,” says the spokesman, “and nothing more can be achieved.”
The question then is whether it is possible to give everyone a place to sleep tonight. “We really have to take into account what happens to the young people who arrive tonight,” the COA spokesperson says.
The call to more places did not yield sufficient results
UNICEF has now sounded the alarm. “UNICEF has heard alarming signals all day that there are no longer enough beds for unaccompanied children in Terre Abelle tonight. Dozens of children risk having to sleep in a chair or on the floor tonight,” the aid organization says.
“All the staff are doing their best, but the pressure is huge because no new sites have opened. The children lack organisation, wander around the floor and lack sufficient personal attention.”
Since last year, it has been noted that the number of unmarried young people applying for asylum in the Netherlands has increased significantly. This increases pressure on already scarce shelter places for these young people. Several appeals from COA, among others, have yet to provide sufficient space.
The “parking spots” are also full
The large number of applications from unaccompanied minors also has another impact. These young people have priority for identification and registration, and this process also takes longer than for a “normal” asylum seeker.
Partly for this reason, he is now occupied in the “waiting rooms” in Ter Apel and the additional waiting site in Assen. There are asylum seekers who already have a short pre-registration, but they still have to go through the normal identification and registration process in Ter Apel or Budel.
So outgoing State Secretary Erik van der Burgh (Asylum) asked municipalities if they wanted to open more of these waiting sites. Amsterdam was the first, and as far as we know, the only one to respond to this matter.
According to a Van der Burgh spokesman, there are “many” discussions about other buffer sites and a number of the discussions are “far-reaching”. But he could not determine whether and what municipalities would open a waiting site.
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The asylum system remains under pressure
The asylum system in the Netherlands has been very busy for a long time. Last year, people slept outside the gates of the registration center in Ter Apel. The Ministry of Justice and Security expects more asylum seekers this year, but the expected increase does not look too bad so far.
This year it was very crowded on the night of May 22 to 23, with people having to sleep on chairs and mattresses. According to a COAG spokesman, this has not happened since then.
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