UNICEF Netherlands and Defence for Children report that no more than 500 children would be affected by the ‘children’s asylum bill’.
The two organisations told current affairs television programme Nieuwsuur that their figures were based on the number of asylum procedures pending and the number of children in emergency shelters funded by churches and local councils.
The bill is intended to secure permanent residency permits for children who have been in the Netherlands for longer than eight years. Most of these children speak only Dutch and have no ties with the language and culture of their country of origin.
The two organisations call on Immigration Minister Gerd Leers no longer to deport children who would fall under the new law in the period leading up to the general election scheduled for September. Minister Leers reacted by saying he would not halt deportations of children who would be granted permanent residence under the new bill.
“Halting the deportations would create expectations. At some point you simply have to implement the rules we all agreed on, or things will become a mess. I stand for the integrity of our asylum policies.”
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide