Netherlands confirms controversial expulsion of Angolan teen

28th October 2011, Comments 6 comments

Dutch authorities Friday confirmed the expulsion of a young Angolan asylum-seeker after he lost an eight-year battle to remain in the Netherlands, despite heavy criticism by opposition parties.

"The minister said he saw no grounds for Mauro Manuel to get asylum in the Netherlands," said Immigration and Asylum Ministry spokeswoman Elaine de Boer.

"He will not use his discretion to make an exception in this case," she told AFP after a heated debate Thursday in the Dutch Lower House of Parliament over the 18-year-old's future.

Dutch Immigration Minister Gerd Leers on Wednesday ruled in favour of Manuel's return to the southwestern African country after living in the Netherlands for the last eight years with a Dutch family, who despite two attemps, failed to adopt him.

Manuel, who speaks fluent Dutch and lives with his "parents" in the southern city of Eindhoven, arrived alone in the Netherlands after being put onboard a flight from Angola by his biological mother, Dutch daily newspaper Trouw reported.

His case has been making headlines in the local media which has hailed him as an example of some 75 other children in a similar situations.

It has also drawn heated debate in the Dutch Lower House of Parliament this week, where opposition parties accused Leers, whose Christian Democratic Action (CDA) rules in coalition with Prime Minister Mark Rutte's party, of being unjust in not allowing Manuel to stay.

"He built up a life in the Netherlands. Isn't it heartless that he now gets expelled?" Sharon Gesthuizen of the Socialist Party was quoted as saying on Dutch public broadcaster NOS's website.

"Mauro does not have to be expelled. An exception can be made," added the Dutch Labour Party's (PvdA) Hans Spekman.

Leers' decision however was supported by the ruling coalition and its ally, the right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV).

Immigration spokeswoman De Boer said Manuel could apply, from Angola, for a student visa.

© 2011 AFP

3 Comments To This Article

  • James Henry posted:

    on 2nd November 2011, 13:22:14 - Reply

    "If we want an asylum seeker-friendly solution, immigration policies would have to be changed in the sense that any minor who is granted asylum will be allowed to stay forever." - bulls**t
  • Arno Sedlak posted:

    on 2nd November 2011, 11:28:27 - Reply

    I regret to say that this report appears to be rather inaccurate. Maura came to the Netherlands as an unaccompanied underage asylum seeker, and immigration policies stipulate that in such as case temporary residence is granted. Temporary meaning: until the age of 18. In other words, there has been no eight-year long legal battle, since from the very beginning it has been clear that Maura could still until he turned 18.

    Contrary to what you write, Maura does not have to return to Angola to apply for a student visa - he can do so while in the Netherlands, and Leers has already suggested that his application will be looked upon favourably.

    I do not mean to say that all is well, now. After all, a student visa is only temporary, and once Mauro has completed his studies, the situation will repeat itself. Then the arguments will be that he has been in the Netherlands for 12 years, is completely integrated into Dutch society, has completed a Dutch education and will become a respectable member of Dutch society if we give him the chance.

    If we want an asylum seeker-friendly solution, immigration policies would have to be changed in the sense that any minor who is granted asylum will be allowed to stay forever. That, in turn, will lead to increased numbers of minors put on the plane by their parents - and once these numbers start to be significant, more applications will be turned down, simply because society cannot absorb infinite numbers of immigrants.

    Either way you lose: if residency is only temporary, you may grant residency for a finite period to larger numbers of applicants, but in the end they will have to return. If residence is forever, those who were allowed in can stay, but you will have to be more selective at the beginning of the procedure and send more applicants back immediately.
  • kim posted:

    on 1st November 2011, 23:57:02 - Reply

    Shame on the Minister, clearly the boy has not only made a life in the Netherlands but also a family which is most important. If the shoe was on the other foot, how would they feel...totally unjust, when you have the power to 'help' someone in need and 'not' do it...I am speechless, what comes around goes around... Shameful...