Migration policy in Belgium.

31/07/2013

-About the worthlessness of detention centres

Many are currently being picked up at home very early in the morning, regardless of their nationality, by the local/federal police on the authority of the Foreigners’ Office SEFOR Service, because they had received an Order to Leave the Territory one day, even though appeals or new requests are ongoing.
http://www.foyer.be/?lang=fr&page=article&id_article=9574&id_rubrique=118
http://www.sefor.be/

They are brought to detention centres where they wait for new decisions regarding their requests in progress and are likely to be deported anytime, sometimes illegally, being non-deportable and/or without free pass, at the mercy of the decisions by the Office.

The latter does not hesitate to extend their detention time, month after month, with no declared reason. Even when a court orders a release, the Office or the State systematically appeal against the decision. For some detainees, it may mean a retention period of 3, 4, up to 9 months before they get released! It seems that the Office finds it awesome to keep these people in detention!

 

-‘Time is long madam’

Imprisonment in itself represents a first serious intimidation. Other sorts of intimidation, pressure, blackmail, threat and deportation attempts almost systematically happen in the centre. Deportation procedures are being explained to them by showing them a video on the escort work during a deportation, even when their deportation is far from being on the agenda. They are also being explained what would happen if they refused!

Another type of intimidation for all those who dare questioning the procedures or raise the fist is ‘isolation’ (they call it solitary confinement) for several days, even weeks for some.

We were told that when handcuffing or scoth-taping the person to be deported, the police and personnel of the centre say:

‘This is the procedure, do not resist and it will go well’

‘This is for your own good’

As for the ban to come back to the European territory for five or seven years, they are bein reassured and told that ‘they will be allowed to come back, that it is ‘just’ a roundtrip’! which is not true: they are banned to enter the Schengen area for 5, even 7 years and they will not get a visa.

 

-The return of some

Some of them come back to Belgium. One deported guy told us: ‘they followed their procedure, we follow ours: I came back several days later’.

 

-Group deportations

Sometimes, specific nationalities are targeted and arrests organised in view of group deportations. Belgium seems to be one of the European countries to organise the most group deportations. In 2012, Belgium chartered 11 military planes for that purpose

http://www.emnbelgium.be/publication/policy-report-2012-asylum-and-migration-belgium-emn

, page 30

« In 2012, Belgium organized 11 secured flights to remove illegal immigrants to DR Congo, Guinea, Kosovo, UK and Albania. Other European countries participated in 2 of these 11 flights. In March 2012 Belgium organized a flight to Kinshasa in which the Netherlands also participated. 18 people were removed from Belgium and 1 person from the Netherlands. Another flight was organized to Kinshasa in December, this time with the participation of Ireland and Germany. This flight removed in total 17 persons. Belgium also participated in one secured flight organized by Germany in cooperation with Frontex, with destination 
Serbia »

At present, many Guinean and Senegalese people are being arrested and imprisoned, mainly in the closed centers .

The suspected group deportation to Kabul remains topical: http://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/attention-probable-group-flight-to-afghanistan/

Everyday, Afghan people continue to be arrested and brought to centres (currently there are around 20 in the 127bis closed centre, still a dozen in Bruges and Vottem).

The threat is still tangible even though the Foreigners Office said “On the side of the Office we try to let cooler heads prevail by assuring that no group deportation project is foreseen. Their spokeswoman even asserted that deportations to Afghanistan are ‘limited and prudently dealt with and that Afghans are being deported to certain areas of the country’.
http://www.lalibre.be/actu/belgique/expulsion-collective-vers-l-afghanistan-51e4c05835701ac301a89131

http://www.hln.be/hln/nl/957/Binnenland/article/detail/1670194/2013/07/16/Kabinet-Maggie-De-Block-stelt-Afghaanse-gezinnen-gerust.dhtml

Questions arise: why are dozens of Afghan adults and families being confined in closed and return centres for months? Why would Belgium not follow the current deportation trend to Afghanistan that is dictated by the European Union?
http://kabulblog.blog.com/

When the Office mentions limited and prudent deportations of Afghans (21 in the first 6 months of 2013 i.e. more than the double in the same period in 2012), why do the hundreds of Afghans who have sometimes been living here for years not get a residence permit?

 

-About the manufacturing of undocumented

The Secretary of State Maggie De Block excels in her press releases with gross figures with no nuance.

According to these, in 2012:
76,497 Orders to leave the Territory; 30,000 refused regularisation requests (and 3,870 accepted); 16,000 refused asylum requests (and 4,500 accepted)

5,000 deported people and 5,000 ‘voluntary returns’ often forced, under constraint after several months in a closed centre (which of course is not mentioned in the reports!)

The ‘lucky’ ones who slip through the net of this manhunt become the new undocumented living in clandestinity!
Not to mention all these people who do not introduce any request, plus the newcomers!

Figures by the Foreigners Office:
https://dofi.ibz.be/sites/dvzoe/FR/Statistiques/Pages/default.aspx
https://dofi.ibz.be/sites/dvzoe/NL/Statistieken/Pages/default.aspx

Activity Report of the Foreigners Office:
https://dofi.ibz.be/sites/dvzoe/FR/Pages/Publications.aspx
https://dofi.ibz.be/sites/dvzoe/NL/Pages/Publicaties.aspx

-Did you say Fortress Europe was dissuasive?

The closed centres for ‘foreigners’ and the deportations only are of a symbolic utility, they tell us, and are deterrent for asylum or regularlisation seekers.

Hundred thousands of people live in clandesinity in our country. Thousands of others arrive here despite the European restrictions and the construction of this fortress, trying to find a somewhat better place to live.

It will not be the imprisonment nor the deportations of several thousands (5,000 in 2012) that will prevent this migration flows.

The auhtorities and Secretary of State proudly use these figures that do not mean anything to satisfy their electorate, inject a barely hidden racism and increase the tendency of nationalist and/or community withdrawal into oneself.

 

No to deportations, nobody’s illegal, No world without migrations!

 

 

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