Children’s ombudsman Marc Dullaert has welcomed the decision by junior justice minister Fred Teeven to give asylum to up to 75 families threatened with deportation because they did not qualify for the amnesty for child refugees.
However, Dullaert says he still has a number of questions about the criteria used by the minister in assessing cases and that some children are still threated with deportation even though they have strong roots in the Netherlands.
‘It is unclear where the boundary lies,’ Dullaert said. ‘Why is one case considered to be worth of inclusion and others not?’ In May, Dullaert put the files of 54 children threatened with deportation online.
The list includes children who were born in the Netherlands, who have been through the Dutch school system and who have never been in their country of origin. Some have been in the Netherlands for over 10 years.
Junior justice minister Fred Teeven has already said he will not change the terms of the amnesty but will use his right of discretion to look at some cases again.
Opposition party leaders have also criticised the strict way the amnesty is being applied and over 300 mayors have signed a petition calling for change.
A total of 675 children and 775 of their family members were given Dutch residency permits under the government’s amnesty for young refugees, according to immigration service figures. Some 3,260 children had applied.
To qualify for the amnesty, children should have lived in the Netherlands for at least five years and been under national government supervision. They must also be under the age of 21 and have lied about their identity to officials no more than once.
The cases highlighted on the ombudsman’s website included An, Yue and Manchu (7, 5 and 2 years old) who were all born in the Netherlands but face deportation because their father was not under government supervision all the time. Their mother and the children were.
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