To all of you who assist migrants or undocumented people:
Remind them that the risks of confinement exist, that the closed center is a step in a process towards deportation.
There are procedures that allow for release but they require prompt interventions by lawyers specializing in immigration law.
It happens that some of them are released without this intervention and the rumor runs, supported by the social workers of the closed centers, that release will be faster without the intervention of a lawyer.
In the vast majority of cases, this intervention must be carried out within 5 days of the decision of confinement.
- In one year (May 2018-2019), Getting The Voice Out and Citizen’s Platform referents recorded more than 1,000 migrant people locked up. But they are certainly much more numerous and we know that there are
more and more people ‘without family’ who have no help.
Desperate and panicked calls come from people whose expulsion is imminent, against which we can do almost nothing.
Insist on migrants who trust us to call very quickly in case of their detention but also THAT THEY SHOW SOLIDARITY with any person whose confinement they learn about.
- That in the center, they announce VERY FAST newcomers through their family, Getting The voice Out or referents. Phone numbers are circulating.
- That they tell you the name under which they are known and when they have, the number under which they are known in the base of the Eurodac. This number is composed of 7 digits, and can be found on all the official papers concerning them: request for asylum (whatever the country), OQT (Order To Leave The Territory), …
- That they contact us before accepting the lawyers proposed by the centers, so they can trust the lawyers for telling them the truth
Lately we have seen an increase in evictions in a muscular or even violent mode.
Recent destinations: Somalia, Ethiopia, Vietnam.
Finally, when you are relieved to hear a person has been released, warn firstname.lastname@example.org and the lawyers, because they are not always informed.
NECESSARY INFORMATION FOR LEGAL AID: to send to email@example.com
– Name of the person under which he/she is registered in the center (most often the one on his/her OQTs, if he or she has already received these)
– 7-digit identification number (Foreigner’s Office / IBZ / SP), noted on their badge received at the arrival at the center
– Center: 127bis, Caricola, Vottem, Bruges, Merksplas, Holsbeek
– Block / room / bed number
– Nationality as registered by the Office
– Real nationality if known
– Date and place of birth
– Date of arrest
– Place of arrest (important)
– Number of OQT’s
– Fingerprints in which country? (Dublin, possible asylum application)
– Vulnerability (sick, psychological problems, pregnant woman, …)
– Family in Europe or UK, single / married
– His or her telephone number, or a telephone number of a co-detainee
– The telephone number and the e-mail address of the visiting person / host.
ADVICE OF A LAWYER:
1- Taking a lawyer CAN NOT in any way delay the process of releasing your friends. This is a false rumour circulating. Social workers sometimes promise release if a person doesn’t take a lawyer, but meanwhile the appeal period runs. In my opinion, this is a real obstacle to access the justice. I often introduce an appeal and shortly before the hearing the person is released. Now, I can fully understand the fear of your friends in view of the false information circulating.
2- Sometimes friends think that this is the first OQT they received (the deadline for appeal is 10 days in this case). But I often see after consulting the administrative file (to which I have access shortly before the hearing), that this is not the case. As you probably know, from a second OQT, the appeal period is 5 days. Which is extremely short.
3- Once we ask the center to send us a copy of the OQT, we must count more or less 1-2 day(s) in order to get it. In order to speed up the process, I also ask friends to apply for it with the social worker so that he / she sends us the decision as quickly as possible.
(*): Thank you to any competent person for giving me his remarks.
August 3, 2019
Michèle De Myttenaere