A Moroccan woman in Amsterdam is facing deportation to Morocco as an illegal immigrant, even though her four children have Dutch nationality, the Parool reported on Thursday.
Aicha el Maher was picked up almost two weeks ago after officials carried out a spot check on a takeaway cafe, where they said she was working illegally, a fact she denies. El Maher has since been held in a deportation centre in Rotterdam.
El Maher’s four children, aged 8, 6, 3 and almost two, are now being cared for by a friend while immigration lawyers try to get her released from the deportation centre.
Her lawyer Abdelhadi el Aqde told local broadcaster AT5 El Maher is willing to return to Morocco.
‘The speed the immigration service have moved at is incomprehensible,’ he said. ‘They could have at least made sure the children were properly looked after… the mother was prepared to go back but not like this.’
The European Court of Justice ruled earlier that parents who are without residency permits should be given proper papers if their children have a European nationality.
A spokesman for the deportation service said earlier this week El Maher can opt to take her children back to Morocco with her. Her husband is 20 years older than her and is unable to care for them.
According to one media report, El Maher was unable to get a residency permit because her husband lives on benefits and does not have enough income to meet the rules on bringing a foreign bride to the Netherlands.
El Maher was due to be deported on Monday but that was averted after she made a claim for asylum. She has lived in the Netherlands since 2007.
Single mother Khadija el Bouni, who is looking after El Maher’s four children as well as her own three, told the Parool she planned to write to queen Máxima to plead her friend’s case.
‘I am going to write to her, spelling mistakes or not,’ El Bouni said. Aware there is nothing the queen can do, El Bouni said: ‘I just think she should know about it.’