Council of state criticises amnesty plan for child refugees

Draft legislation to give an automatic right to stay in the Netherlands to refugee children who have lived here for at least eight years is unnecessary, unfocused and unfair, according to the Council of State.

The advisory body, which also functions as the supreme court, makes recommendations on new laws. The proposal for the amnesty was drawn up by the Labour party (PvdA) and Christian party ChristenUnie in the wake of the row surrounding Angolan youth Mauro Manuel.
Manuel faced deportation on reaching the age of 18, even though he has been in the Netherlands since he was 10.
The Council of State said the legislation is unnecessary because ministers have discretionary rights to grant residency in some cases.
In addition, the legislation could encourage families to drag out legal procedures until a child had been in the country for eight years, and it would be unfair on families who have left, Nos television quotes the council as saying.
Immigration minister Gerd Leers opted not to give Manual a residency permit, saying it would set a precedent.
Despite the criticism, the PvdA and ChristenUnie say they will press ahead with the legislation which they hope will have majority support in parliament.