Members of his own Christian Democrat party (CDA) have slammed the policies of outgoing Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd Leers for not being humane enough.
National daily Trouw writes that CDA councillors from 81 local councils (out of a total of 415) have urged fellow party members in parliament to take action. A permanent residence permit for asylum seekers’ families whose children were born and raised in the Netherlands is seen as the first step toward a more humane asylum policy.
The councillors have written letters to 21 CDA MPs with the urgent request to support an asylum bill commonly referred to as the Assimilation Bill. Sponsored by the Labour Party and the Christian Union, it would grant permanent residence permits to families with children who have lived in the Netherlands for longer than eight years.
The bill is intended to prevent children who grew up in the Netherlands and can only speak Dutch from being deported to what would essentially be a foreign country with a foreign language and culture.
Whether the bill will be supported by a majority in parliament would appear to depend on the CDA, Trouw writes. Minister Leers is opposed, but the 81 councillors said the parliamentary party has remained silent for far too long.
“We would very much like Mr Leers to present a solution tomorrow in the spirit of the assimilation bill, which would finally allow these children to safely build a future,” the 81 councillors wrote.
If the bill cannot be considered before the general elections scheduled to be held in September, the councillors want MPs to ensure that a 'clear and humane solution for this group of assimilated children' is included in the CDA election programme.
The petition Kinderpardon Nu (Children’s Pardon Now), which has the same objective, has been signed by nearly 130,000 citizens. Around 180 mayors speaking on behalf of their councils have urged parliament to adopt the assimilation bill.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide
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