Words by a retainee in a closed centre for more than 4 months:
« The closed centre is a small society in itself: we are getting organised, we discuss with people from all over the world, we have arguments and reconcile ourselves, we share our experiences and above all we welcome newcomers and say farewell to those who are going back home. I will never forget this micro-society experience.”
A few examples of the absurdity of retentions
A woman with a residence permit in France is retained in view of a deportation to “her country of origin”. After endless legal recourses she decides to let them deport her. Once at the airport of her “country of origin’, she takes a flight to Paris with her French residence permit and finds her family back there.
A man of French nationality is arrested on the street but he is without his documents. They bring him to a closed centre. They identify him as being Serbian: “yes indeed, his great grand-father migrated to France almost one century ago.” The time to prove his nationality, after 15 days they deport him to France.
A man with a legal history spent 8 months in a closed centre in view of his deportation. The embassy of his ‘alleged’ country of origin always refused to deliver him a let pass. He was released after 8 months of retention with an order to leave the territory. What is he supposed to do now?
At the 127bis closed centre, a Guinean man, 74 years old, who has been living in Belgium for 11 years has been retained for 7 months now… A second deportation attempt is planned for the 23rd of June 2016.
Controls at the borders:
At the airport, the borders’ police, under the orders of the Foreigners office, arrests with discernment the people who could well come to ‘enjoy our wealth’ (dixit a member of the federal police to an alleged migrant).
A woman arrives to the airport with a visa for Germany and requests asylum in Belgium. She is arrested and brought to a closed centre. They plan to deport her to Germany.
A woman arrives to the airport with a visa for France to see her family members who live in France during her holidays of 3 weeks. She is arrested and brought to a closed centre in view of her deportation to Guinea. After one week, she decides to let herself deport: “I am going back home, this is a shame!”
A man arrives to the airport with a Belgian visa to spend holidays in Europe: he is arrested at the airport, isolated during 5 hours in a room with no food, no drinks, to be finally brought to the closed centre. He decides to go back home instead of spending his holidays in a closed centre!
Small reflexion by the brother of this man: “My brother was in order with all the visa conditions. I think it would be wise to have a service of assistance at the airport to see if everything is in order before bringing them to a closed centre where nothing can be done anymore”.
This being said, the retentions in closed centres for sometimes more than 8 months and the deportations are the rule and the main goal!
However, failure for the Office and the CGRA : many find the way to come back thanks to the more or less caring ‘smugglers’ to join their friends, children, and family or to request asylum again because they are really in danger in their country, contrarily to what CGRA think.