Refugee minors have a right to family reunifications, even if they turn 18 during the application process, according to an April 12 ruling by the European Union’s top court.
The ruling delivered by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) could impact tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who applied for asylum within the bloc.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, numerous refugees could be affected in Germany alone, although the family reunification application time limit could limit how many are eligible. According to figures from Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, some 66,300 unaccompanied minors entered Germany between January 2015 and October 2017. The office did not provide exact figures on the number of those who turned 18 during their asylum applications.
The court’s ruling could also ramp up tensions within German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s government as the conservative Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) butt heads over family reunifications for refugees.
According to DW, the head of the CSU party and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has been portraying himself as an immigration and refugee hardliner. His rhetoric has led to fears within the SPD that he may turn back on a coalition deal to allow a maximum 1,000 people per month to arrive in Germany for family reunifications.