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Gerd Leers: Mauro should return to Angola

October 27, 2011

By Job Oberman

THE HAGUE – Mauro Manuel has to go back to Angola,  Immigration and Asylum minister Gerd Leers said Wednesday.

Manuel hit the headlines after sending a personal letter to Leers this summer.

In the letter, he said he felt at home with his foster family and that he fears he “would have to miss them very soon.”

Solutions proposed

Several proposals all aimed at attempting to block Mauro’s ejection from the Netherlands have been proposed.

Dutch media reports say Leers allegedly offered Mauro a study visa.

However, officials at his ministry have denied these allegations.

Mauro is not a student. Had he been studying in higher education level, he would have been eligible for a knowledge migrant visa en-route to Dutch citizenship after his studies.

PVV satisfied

The anti-immigration PVV party is satisfied with Leers’ decision.

“A permit would give the wrong signal to other illegal foreigners in the country,” said Sietse Fritsma, representative of Asylum and Immigration.

Initiative law

The foundation for Refugee Work, wants to see a new law that would give citizenship to minority refugees living in the Netherlands for over 5 years.

Opposition parties PvdA and ChristenUnie would like to see the five-year wait extended by three more years.

Adopted Dutch values

In 2003, Mauro moved to the Netherlands, where he has been living with his foster family since.

Mauro has adopted several Dutch values, even speaking Dutch with a Limburg accent.

Reactions

Family and relatives say they have been deeply touched by the decision.

“We are terribly sad,” said the school director Antoine Wintels, but “we respect democratic decisions.”

A similar case involving an Afghan girl sparked a political storm earlier this year.

The public opinion found Sarah to have adopted Western values, and because of pressure from several parties, Leers created a new category of asylum seekers.

Leers argues that war-ravaged Afghanistan offers a different setting than Angola, which has enjoyed relative peace following decades of civil war.

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