Belgium intensifies deportations to Morocco

15/05/2024

The Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Nicole de Moor, recently declared in the press that ‘Moroccans residing illegally in Belgium may be sent back’¹.

Last April, Nicole de Moor, accompanied by a delegation of Belgian ministers, visited Rabat, Morocco. The visit led to the signing of an agreement between Belgium and Morocco on migration issues. It was not the first, as another agreement had previously been concluded by the Belgian Minister of Justice, Paul Van Tigchelt, concerning people of Moroccan origin subject to the double penalty². Since then, a number of people of Moroccan origin have been arrested in recent weeks and taken to closed centres with a view to their deportation from Belgium.

The Moroccan government is said to have made a very clear commitment to admit all those identified as Moroccan nationals who are currently without a residence permit in Belgium. This commitment would mean simplifying and speeding up expulsion procedures. In addition, with this in mind, a law now authorises officers from the Aliens Office, with judicial powers for this purpose, to access the telephones of people who have committed ‘criminal acts’ in order to obtain identification details such as passport photos. It should be pointed out that the definition of ‘criminal acts’ is very broad and vague. Quite often, it is enough for the people concerned to be suspected of ‘disturbing the peace’ for officers from the Aliens Office to assume judicial powers over them. 

Nicole de Moor seems determined to test the Moroccan authorities on these promised returns by rounding up undocumented Moroccans. These people have often lived in Belgium for years, even decades, and some of them were left out of the 2009 regularisation process³. Some arrived in Belgium as minors, and have since started a family here, sometimes with no contact in their country of origin.

Please let everyone concerned know! 

Stop deportations: freedom of movement and regularisation for all!

¹  https://www.lesoir.be/581315/article/2024-04-16/les-marocains-residant-illegalement-en-belgique-pourront-etre-renvoyes-affirmel 

https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/fr/2024/04/16/le-maroc-s-engage-a-renforcer-la-cooperation-dans-la-lutte-contr/

² https://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/double-penalty-or-banishment-a-peculiar-method-of-racism/

3 In 2009, thanks to strong mobilisation by movements fighting for regularisation, undocumented migrants were able to apply to the Belgian government for regularisation. Around 25,000 people had their papers regularised as a result. 

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