Illegals premium called into question
11 October 2006 – According to the new
performance contract, the police will receive a bonus if it manages
to arrest 11,883 undocumented residents next year. Tomorrow, the
city council will question Mayor Job Cohen on the issue. Meanwhile,
questions are being asked in The Hague, Hoorn, Zaanstad, Tilburg
and Friesland as well.
(added: Leeuwarden, Groningen, Utrecht, Rotterdam, Drachten, Velsen)
District council member Jelle Houtsma (Social-Democrat PvdA) first
raised the alarm. The municipality should not be involved in a hunt
after illegal residents and if necessary resort to civil disobedience,
he told News from Amsterdam. Since then, questions have been asked
by the Social-Liberal D66, the Socialist Party (SP) and Green Party
GroenLinks. Judith Sargentini (GroenLinks) called the premium for
hunting down illegals ‘inhumane’. PvdA party leader
Manon van der Garde is concerned as well and will tomorrow ask the
mayor for a clarification.
and Van der Garde; Houtsma
The city council has passed a motion
asking the mayor to have the premium abolished.
In The Hague, GroenLinks, The Hague City Party (HSP), PvdA, D66
and SP fear that the illegals premium “may lead to reprehensible
practices, such as discrimination on the basis of appearance and
hunting down illegals such as victims of traffic in women and asylum
seekers who have run out of legal options, who with or without children,
have nowhere to go”. They ask the city administration (PvdA,
GroenLinks and conservative VVD) to change the contract or to make
D66 has its doubts: “Arresting illegals can never be a goal
in itself”, says council member and former alderman Arthur
Helling in the Noordhollands Dagblad. “And it looks that way
now”. The mayor is a fellow member of D66.
Erik Schaap of the local Rosa party says in Noordhollands Dagblad:
“It will result in innocent people ending up in jail. Think
of the Chinese boy Hui who is detained as well [the detention of
this eight-year old boy incited protests across the country –
Ed]. Because many foreigners cannot leave the country. And illegal
residence in itself is not punishable”. The party further
fears that “the agreement in the contract to inspect foreigners’
residence papers will lead to selective surveillance, of which especially
people with a coloured skin or foreign-sounding names will be the
victim”, it appears from questions asked by the party.
D66 has asked questions. “Such performance contracts will
be counter productive; the police will arrest mainly families with
children because they are easier to detect than for example criminal
illegals. And this can never be the intention”, says Peter
van Gool, member of a council committee for D66 in Tilburg.
GroenLinks has also asked questions: “Do you agree that a
witch hunt after illegals does not make a real contribution to the
safety of citizens living in the region?”
PvdA provincial council member Wietze de Haan asks: “How about
such performance contracts in the North? And specifically in Fryslân?
People will know better here..... Won’t they.....”
Superintendent Berndsen has promised that there will be no witch
hunt after undocumented foreigners. The mayors of Wûnseradiel,
Smallingerland, Boarnsterhim, Dantumadeel Opsterland have serious
objections to the performance agreements. Many Frisian mayors want
the police not to implement the agreements, but Dales, responsible
for the corps, said that the mayors have no authority over the police
department that deals with migration issues (source: Fries Dagblad).
The SP is concerned that the police will focus more on ethnic minorities
and wants to know if the agreement does not run counter to the city’s
policy to support refugees who get into trouble as a result of failing
government policies. The police should concentrate on doing its
job: solve crimes and reduce criminality.
D66: “As an opposition party, we disagree with many aspects
of this administration’s programme, but not with the strong
position to do all we can as a municipality for asylum seekers who
have run out of legal options, certainly if it regards families.
D66 therefore finds it amazing that a performance contract for arresting
people is being signed under the responsibility of this administration”.
The city council has passed a motion asking the mayor to have the
GroenLinks has asked questions, the performance contract will be
put on the agenda of the city council in November.
In Rotterdam, Theo Cornelissen (SP) has raised the alarm. “All
must be done to prevent a round-up being organised at the end of
next year. Such a thing does not belong in a decent city”.
Party Leader Peter van Heemst (PvdA) told to News from Amsterdam
that there is in the Rotterdam PvdA ‘no strong feeling of
indignation’ about the issue. As long as the police operates
in a ‘restrained’ way, there is no problem, Van Heemst
says. Asked to explain the difference with the Amsterdam PvdA, which
supported a motion against the performance agreements, Van Heemst
prided himself in Rotterdam being a ‘more practical’
The Interfaith Working Group for Regugees in Drachten in an open
letter called on politicians to face the problems of asylum seekers
who have no more legal options left. The group is very worried about
the performance agreement (source: Fries Dagblad).
The city council has passed a motion against the illegals premium.
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