Curaao speaker: Mauro is welcome

1st November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Curaçao parliamentary speaker Ivar Asjes says young Angolan asylum seeker Mauro Manuel would be welcome to come live in Curaçao if the Netherlands decides to deport him.

On his Facebook page, Mr Asjes writes he has already asked Justice Minister Elmer Wilsoe to make the necessary arrangements. The speaker writes that Mauro’s foster family would also be welcome.

At the weekend, the issue figured prominently on the agenda of the annual autumn congress of the Christian democratic CDA, the party of Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd Leers. The congress adopted a resolution calling for ‘a humane policy regarding underage asylum seekers.

Mauro’s possible deportation to Angola put the CDA in a difficult position, as most of the party’s MPs support the minister’s intention to deport him, while most party members are strongly opposed.

Mauro came to the Netherlands as an unaccompanied asylum seeker when he was 10 and grew up with a Dutch foster family. However, when underage asylum seekers turn 18, they are no longer protected by asylum law and can be set back to their country of origin.

The minister has discretionary powers to allow for exceptions, if there is no adequate support for the young people in their country of origin. However, the fiercely anti-immigration Freedom Party, on which the minority cabinet depends for parliamentary support, is widely expected to withdraw its support if the minister were to make an exception for Mauro.

In practice, many underage asylum seekers end up remaining in the Netherlands illegally as they do not have the proper papers to be repatriated. And they may soon find themselves in a serious predicament. The cabinet recently announced it would submit an immigration bill to parliament which, if adopted, would make it a crime to either enter or stay in the Netherlands illegally.

It is not clear whether Mauro is likely to take the Curaçao parliamentary speaker up on his offer. Dutch politicians are reportedly working on a compromise which would allow Mauro to stay in the Netherlands while awaiting the outcome of an application for a student visa. Parliament will vote on the issue later on Tuesday.

However, moving to Curaçao, an autonomous state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands would almost certainly solve Mauro’s problem. Legally settling in one of the Kingdom’s member states would automatically entitle Mauro to a Dutch passport and Dutch citizenship.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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