- Category: News
- Created on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 11:21
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
Immigration minister Gerd Leers has repeatedly rejected calls to allow 18-year-old Mauro Manuel to stay with his foster family in the southern province of Limburg.
Mauro has become a cause celebre since he wrote an impassioned letter to the minister in June, after being told he faced deportation to the African nation.
He has also become a test case for the centre-right coalition’s commitment to take a tougher line on immigration and asylum, one of the key demands of Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party (PVV), which is propping up the minority government.
The teenager arrived in the Netherlands as a nine-year-old, just as Angola’s three-decade-long civil war was ending, after his mother bundled him onto a plane bound for Amsterdam.
In his letter he wrote: “For all these years I have been able to develop very much as a person and very much adapted to Dutch culture. I feel mostly Dutch and a Limburger too (I will never lose my Limburg accent) as well as half-Angolan.
“I can’t imagine going back to Angola, a country that is very strange to me.”
Leers told a parliamentary sitting on Wednesday that he was unable to make an exception for Mauro as there were many comparable cases.
He added that he had considered whether Mauro was eligible for a student visa, although the teenager has already said he has no plans to study.
Leers added that he was not prepared to change immigration policy to make it easier for people such as Mauro, who arrive in the Netherlands as children and become integrated into Dutch society, to stay.
Opposition parties want to see a moratorium for young immigrants which would grant them the right to remain after a defined period of between five to eight years.
Leers’s own CDA party initially joined the chorus calling for Mauro to be granted the right to stay in the country as an “exceptional case”, but has since swung round behind the minister.