A spate of pick-pocketing in Groningen city centre has prompted the city’s mayor to call for the speedy deportation of criminal asylum seekers who come from safe third countries.
Peter den Oudsten made the comments after a string of arrests in the wake of a petty crime surge. Several of those picked up are said to be asylum seekers from Morocco and Georgia. Two have already been jailed for four and five weeks and five other cases – all involving Moroccan nationals – are due in court in the near future.
‘People are starting to work in groups,’ De Oudsten told local broadcaster RTV Noord. ‘They are not all from abroad but they are responsible for the increase. It is an extremely undesirable development.’
Den Oudsten said he had been in touch with junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff about the problem and that the minister is looking to speed up the procedure to deport criminal asylum seekers.
‘We are happy to accommodate refugees who need help, but we should really come down hard on people who come here from safe third countries to disrupt our society,’ Den Oudsten said.
Earlier this week, the immigration service IND said there had been a surge in Moroccan and Algerian nationals claiming asylum in the Netherlands. Officials told the Telegraaf they cannot explain the increase.
One reason may be the €2,000 which asylum seekers are given if they voluntarily agree to return home. An additional reason could be a recent legal case which criticised the research leading officials to consider Morocco a safe third country, the Telegraaf said.
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