Gesthuizen: 'Let the child amnesty work properly’

2 October 2013

Gesthuizen: 'Let the child amnesty work properly’

Wednesday saw a demonstration against the deportation of 21-year old Wime, who comes from Angola. Wime has been in the Netherlands since he was ten years old, but does not fall within the rules laid down by the child amnesty, under which certain groups of people who entered the country as minors may be given residency rights, as it is six months too late for him to make an application. Wime is not the only person, moreover, for whom this is the case. ‘This young man was one of those children who arrived in the Netherlands just too late to be considered for the general amnesty in 2007, but who are just too old to qualify for the child amnesty,’ explains SP Member of Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen. ‘Yet these children have grown up in our country and feel that they are Dutch. Their country of origin is by now unknown to them; they simply aren’t rooted there and feel themselves to be at home here.’

Sharon Gesthuizen

Secretary of State for Immigration and Asylum Fred Teeven promised during the debate on the child amnesty held in Parliament early in the year that he would look into whether an exception might be made for these distressing cases. Yet the SP has been informed by a number of young former asylum seekers that they fall just outside the regulations, either because, like Wime, they are a little too old, or because, for example, they have not remained under the supervision of the state authorities. ‘But in every case these were children who were known to their local authorities or attended school in a proper fashion,’ says Gesthuizen, who wants the Secretary of State to allow the few dozen young people and children to whom this applies to remain in the Netherlands. ‘The Netherlands is, after all, the country where they have grown up and where they have established their social life.’

ROOD Mauro
Sharon Gesthuizen with Mauro, the boy who was threatened with deportation last year.

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