The Christian Democratic party voted to work towards a more humane policy on young refugees, but that does not mean 18-year-old Angolan boy Mauro can stay, party officials said on Saturday.
During the conference, 85% of delegates voted in favour of a motion to improve the lot of youngsters who arrive in the Netherlands without their parents.
But parliamentary party chairman Sybrand van Haersma Buma stressed this was a strategy for the future and did not mean the congress was asking immigration minister Gerd Leers to allow the youth to remain in the country.
Mauro Manuel arrived in the Netherlands in 2003 and has lived with the same foster family in Limburg since then. Now 18, he faces deportation back to Angola. The youth’s situation is complicated by the fact his birth mother is still alive.
Leers, who is a CDA minister, told the congress he felt the motion was support for his policy in which, he said, the power of the individual not their weaknesses is central.
MPs will vote on the boy’s future on Tuesday and that will be a close-run thing. Two CDA MPs – Ad Koppejan and Kathleen Ferrier – have made it clear they think the boy should be allowed to remain in the Netherlands but it is not clear if they will vote against Leers.
Ferrier pointed out during Saturday’s debate that a number of CDA MPs had played football with the boy and pledged their support, but have now changed their mind. ‘We gave him expectations’ and should keep our promises, Ferrier said.
Several opinion polls have shown the majority of the population think the boy should be allowed to stay in the country where he has put down roots and is attending college.
Between 75 and 200 other children are thought to be in a similar position to Mauro.
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