Utrecht’s mayor angry over being sidelined during deportation

Utrecht’s mayor Jan van Zanen is angry at the way a Somali man has been removed from a refugee centre in the city without his involvement.

Councils have an agreement with the justice department that they are always informed before a deportation takes place.

However, a spokesman for junior justice minister Fred Teeven said officials acted as they did beause the council did not want to cooperate with the man’s deportation.

Van Zanen is to discuss the issue with other big city mayors to try to work out how to deal with direct action by the minister.

Police chiefs

Mayors are also local police chiefs and are technically required to order their officers to cooperate with deportation requests. However, they can refuse to do so if there is a risk of public disorder.

The dispute over who controls the police in such cases dates back to 2012 when the mayor of a small town called Giessenlanden ordered the police not to cooperate with the deportation of an illegal Afghan man.

The man, who was suspected of war crimes, was refused leave to stay despite being the only carer for his sick wife and their children, all of whom are in the Netherlands legally.

At the time, legal experts said the police are under the exclusive orders of the immigration minister when carrying out deportations and that mayors cannot call on the public service role of the police or use fear of civil disorder to block deportations.

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