Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Dutch asylum system under fire


I'm not at all familiar with how the Dutch asylum system works, but a recent article published by the BBC draws attention to recent popular and political outrage against it because of the proposed deportation of an Angolan asylum-seeker. Mauro Manuel, who is now 18, came to the Netherlands when he was a young boy and has been fully integrated into Dutch society. From what I could gather from the article, the fact that he is now an adult means that he is eligible for deportation, since he is not a legal resident of the Netherlands, and powerful politicians and citizen groups alike have reacted with harsh criticism of the system and advocacy on Manuel's behalf. The Dutch parliament has even taken up measures to grant him residency status, but anti-immigrant legislators have argued that "rules are rules" and he must be deported.

I'm the first person to argue that the laws must be adhered to and that justice comes from changing the system, not subverting it, but I'm failing to understand why Manuel cannot be granted asylum - or at least some sort of comparable protection. The fact that his situation has catalyzed an national, and international, debate about his situation indicates to me that there is disagreement about what exactly Dutch asylum law says must happen. It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out.

1 comment:

Ross said...

This is a very vexing situation. There is probably not a rule that clearly speaks to the situation at hand, and thus not a clear answer. To me, it seems ridiculous that this is even an issue. Why is it that since he has hit a certain age, he now faces deportation? That just goes to show how arbitrary asylum law is.

Maybe some good will come out of this situation. In the long run, perhaps it will force the Netherlands to reform their, obviously, flawed immigration law. In the short tun, hopefully this 18 year old will be allowed to stay in the society he has grown up in.