Dutch town pledges to continue supporting Armenian family threatened with deportation

The town of Boxmeer will continue to support an Armenian family financially after the father’s refugee status was withdrawn because he lied about his identity 15 years ago, mayor Karel van Soest said on Friday.

The fact the man has a conviction for attacking a police officer several years ago will not have an impact on that decision, the Volkskrant quotes the mayor as saying.

The family, which has two young children, was told to leave after Armenian national Hovsep Khachatryan admitted lying about who he was when he came here as a 16-year-old in 1999.

But locals have been campaigning against the deportation order, saying it is wrong to throw out a well-integrated family with two young children.

Because Khachahtryan is now an illegal immigrant, he has lost his job. Boxmeer council decided to go against government policy and support the family with €1,250 a month.

His conviction for assaulting a police officer emerged during an appeal hearing against the deportation. Khachahtryan admits being drunk and hitting an officer after an exchange of words. He was given community service for the offence.

According to the Volkskrant, junior justice minister Fred Teeven took the conviction into account when assessing the deportation order. ‘The case is unique and it was not an easy decision but the answer remains no,’ the paper quotes the immigration service as saying.

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