Asylum minister must open new investigation into case of Mauro Manuel

29 October 2011

Asylum minister must open new investigation into case of Mauro Manuel

SP Member of Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen is urging Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd Leers to take a fresh look at the entire collection of documents relating to Mauro Manuel, the young Limburger facing deportation to his native Angola after ten years in the southern Netherlands province.

Sharon GesthuizenGesthuizen’s last ditch attempt to stop Mauro’s expulsion was prompted by the receipt by asylum lawyers of documentation from the state Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) which note that where an appeal is made to the discretionary powers belonging to the minister ’the entire collection (of documents) produced by the foreign (applicant for asylum)’ offering proof of ‘dire individual circumstances’ must be examined as a whole.

When Mauro was ten years old he was put by his mother on to an aeroplane to the Netherlands. Since his twelfth birthday he has lived with foster parents in Limburg. Following lengthy judicial procedures the courts decided that Mauro could stay in the Netherlands. The Immigration and Asylum Minister appealed against this decision, however. Meanwhile Mauro was pursuing a training course in Information Technology, and during his exams he heard that this appeal to a higher court had been granted. Mauro’s only hope was that Leers would back down and give him permission to remain in what is now in reality his home country, but so far the minister has refused to do so. Gesthuizen, however, believes that Leers has examined only certain documents relating to dire individual circumstances but that he has not taken into account the way those circumstances relate to each other. She is demanding that the Minister take a fresh look at the case based on the IND’s own guidelines.

Gesthuizen: 'What the minister has done this week isn’t correct. The minister says repeatedly that the individual circumstances are not sufficiently dire. But he hasn’t looked at them all together as a cohesive whole; the fact that Mauro has been in the Netherlands for almost ten years and has built a family life with his foster parents and foster brother; that he speaks fluent Dutch and is following a training course here in Information and Communications Technology. The fact that he doesn’t remember the language he spoke in Angola, a country where he knows no-one and to which he is now threatened with deportation and that he is afraid of. Mauro simply meets all of the criteria. That the minister doesn’t find the individual circumstances sufficiently dire is beyond belief. But if he looks at them as they all fit together he can surely only determine that this is indeed a dire and distressing situation. So there may then be hope. Yesterday on the news it was reported that another boy in a comparable situation had been given permission to stay by a former Secretary of State for Asylum.” Referring to the right wing anti-immigration party on which the Christian Democrat-Liberal coalition must rely to stay in power, Gesthuizen added that while to grant such permission ” must then be within the rules, it seems that the minister doesn’t want to find a solution to this matter and will stick to his guns and act tough just to please the PVV.”

On Thursday Parliament met, with Mauro himself in attendance, to discuss the young Limburger’s threatened deportation. The CDA, Gerd Leers’ party, had proposed what it saw as a solution: Mauro would apply for a student visa and this application would be treated ‘with all due haste’, but Gesthuizen dismissed this as offering ‘false hope’. Speaking not only for the SP, but for the two centre-left parties Labour and the Green Left, as well as the centrist D66, the Christian Union and the Animals’ Party, Gesthuizen recorded an ‘explanation of vote’, an official parliamentary declaration in which she explained why these parties – which together count close to half of the 150 MPs in the legislature - could not support the CDA motion:

“Motions have a very simple meaning: choose for or against. The choice is now, however, difficult and also dishonest. I’m referring to the motion from the CDA regarding a student visa. We do not know what we are choosing if we agree to this. Not only has the minister today refused to give a clear answer to our questions regarding the procedure which relates to that visa, because of which refusal we, just as the person whom it affects, are left completely in the dark, but it is also a motion which places the responsibility entirely on the shoulders of Mauro Manuel, and in doing so makes things for us, who must vote, completely unclear. We don’t know if Mauro will be able to cope with this. What are we voting for? We would be voting for a solution for the minister, a way out, and not for, but rather against, a solution for Mauro. As written, the motion is too vague to offer a solution. It offers false hope. There is no guarantee that Mauro would be able to be able to lodge his application in the Netherlands, or that he would be allowed to remain after his studies are complete. What if he didn’t achieve the standard demanded? The motion means at best a postponement of the young Limburger’s deportation to Angola. That’s why this motion is not acceptable to the SP, Labour Party, Christian Union, Green Left, D66 and the Animals’ Party and why we will vote against it.”

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