The Hague to tackle illegal Tunisians

16th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd Leers has instructed the police to look out for illegal immigrants from Tunisia. If necessary, the cost of their repatriation will be borne by Dutch authorities themselves, a spokesperson for the minister said.

The minister has been angered by a decision by Italy to grant 20,000 people who recently fled Tunisia’s civil war temporary visas that give them access to the European Union’s Schengen area. Most of them, the minister claims, are economic migrants who are likely to stay in Europe as illegal aliens. They should, Mr Leers insists, be sent back to Italy and from there be expelled to Tunisia.

Police have been told to check whether Tunisians comply with the three requirements necessary to remain in the Schengen zone. Legal immigrants need to have the required documents, have sufficient means of existence and should pose no threat to public order.

However, as there are no border controls between Schengen countries and travel between them is unrestricted, police are only allowed to check migrants in a limited number of circumstances, such as labour inspections and crimes.

Minister Leers has also proposed measures to reinstate border checks. The checks were suspended after the Council of State, the country’s highest legal body, had disputed whether border police had the legal authority to arrest illegal immigrants.

In addition, Mr Leers has asked The European Commission to instruct Italy to keep the fingerprints of all Tunisians migrants for an indefinite period. Normally personal details stored in the European central database Eurodac are deleted after a certain period.  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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