Dutch MPs: helping illegal immigrants not a crime
A majority of Dutch MPs think people who help illegal immigrants should not be prosecuted. The stance clashes with tough new government immigration policy.
The coalition agreement between the Christian Democrats CDA and VVD sets out to make illegal residence in the Netherlands punishable by law. But this would make anyone who helps illegal immigrants an accessory to a crime. Churches, doctors and social workers providing care or support to immigrants without proper documentation could then be liable to prosecution.
CDA MP Raymond Knops joined leftwing opposition parties in calling for a rethink. He urged Immigration Minister and fellow Christian Democrat Gerd Leers to guarantee that people who give humanitarian assistance to illegal immigrants will not end up in court.
The tough stance on immigration in the coalition agreement was a condition for the government to secure the backing of the far-right Freedom Party. The minority CDA-VVD coalition depends on the support of Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam Freedom Party in parliament.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide