The use of deportation
A case study of the Dutch return policy
University of Amsterdam
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences Political Science – International Relations
Even though academics have frequently criticized deportation policies, all Western
democracies have them. Scholars have formulated objections to deportation policies based on ethical and practical critiques, such as the protection of rights of the deportee, cost efficiency and effectiveness. The number of deportees from has only been rising over the last decades. Why do countries still choose for deportation policies, despite these critiques? In order to answer this question, a case study into the Dutch situation has been conducted. The critiques on both the ethical as the practical aspect of deportations have been tested in the Netherlands, through a literature study and expert interviews. Policymakers seem to be aware of the
critiques, from which some are to some extent applicable. Some objections are not applicable, others have the risk they impose countered by control mechanisms. Next to that,
policymakers, political parties and other organizations came up with new terms, such as the Responsibility of the Migrant (to return voluntarily) that counter some of the ethical
objections. Furthermore, other ideas about deportations are brought up. For instance, the ethical objection to deportation after long-term stay cannot only be countered by not deporting, but also by deporting more swiftly. Given the alternative of residing in the
Netherlands illegally, deporting expeditiously is seen as a more ethical decision. The biggest reason to deport is to put the migration policy into effect, and make those leave that have no legal right to stay. Deportation policies are thus seen as nothing more than the capstone of the migration policy. The question remains whether deportation is the most effective and efficient way to achieve that goal, to give a conclusive answer on that further research is needed.
List of Abbreviations
Awb Algemene Wet Bestuursrecht (General Administrative Law Act) CITT Commissie Integraal Toezicht Terugkeer (Supervisory Commission on
COA Centraal Orgaan opvang Asielzoekers (Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers)
DT&V Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek (Repatriation and Departure Service) IOM International Organization for Migration
IND Immigratie- en Naturalisatie Dienst (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) NCA Algemene Rekenkamer (Netherlands Court of Audit)
KMar Koninklijke Marechausse (Royal Military Police)
VenJ Veiligheid en Justitie (Safety and Justice, used by the Ministry of Safety and Justice and the Supervisory Commission of this Ministry)
Table of contents1. Introduction……….. p. 5 2. Theoretical framework………. p. 7 2.1. Definitions p. 7 2.2. History of Deportation p. 7
2.3. Ethical Aspects of Deportation p. 9
2.3.1. Criticizing the Ethics of Deportation – the right of the State to deport p. 9
2.3.2. Harmfulness of deportations p. 10
2.3.3. Protection of the rights of the deportee after deportation p. 11
2.4. Practical Aspects of Deportation p. 12
2.4.1. Protection of the rights of the deportee during deportation p. 12
2.4.2. Cost efficient / worth it? p. 13
2.4.3. Deportees return p. 13
2.4.4. Problems with deporting lead to impossibility to deport p. 14
2.5. Overview p. 15
2.6. Discrepancy literature – policy p. 16
2.7. Explaining the gap p. 16
3. Research design……… p. 18
3.1. Part 1 – Case Study: Literature Study p. 18
3.1.1. Case selection p. 18
3.1.2. Dutch deportation policies p. 18
3.1.3. Applicability of Critiques p. 18
3.1.4. Reasons to choose for deportation policies p. 19
3.2. Part 2 – Case Study Interviews p. 19
3.2.1. Design p. 19
3.2.2. Interviews – Structure p. 20
3.2.3. Interviewees p. 22
4. Results – Literature Study……… p. 23
4.1. Dutch deportation policy p. 23
4.2. Applicability of ethical critiques p. 25
Objection B p. 26
4.3. Applicability of practical critiques p. 27
Objection D-G p. 28
4.4. Applicability of practical critiques: an overview p. 33
4.5. Reasons for deportation policies p. 34
5. Results – Interviews……… p. 36
5.1. Academic critiques in practice p. 36
5.1.1. Hypothesis p. 36
5.1.2. Familiarity with academic critiques p. 36
5.1.3. Applicability of academic critiques p. 38
Objection A-G p. 38
5.1.4. Applicability: an overview p. 48
5.2. Reasons for deportation policies p. 49
Reason 1-5 p. 49
6. Conclusion……….. p. 52 7. Discussion……… p. 57 8. Bibliography……… p. 59
Over the last decades, the deportation of noncitizens from their territory by Western countries has been rising annually (Buckinx and Filindra, 2015). Scholars have argued for different reasons against deportations as a border control mechanism. Some state that deportation is disproportionally harmful for the deported. The harm of deportation has received attention in the literature on immigration through for instance case studies about people deported from the US (Schuster and Majidi, 2013, Coleman and Kocher, 2011, etc.). When the deported is a long-term resident of the state he or she is being deported from the deportation is not
justifiable, according to some. The punishment (deportation) that is put upon a person is not compatible to the crime the person has committed, namely being in a country without legal status. Next to the immorality of the practice, some authors argue that deporting has no use. The practice has been called brutal, expensive, and ineffective (Schuster 2005; Gibney and Hansen 2003; Collyer 2012). Schuster and Majidi argue that many Afghans who were deported from Europe attempt and succeed in re-migrating (2013). Why do countries still deport people then? The question gains social relevance due to the rising numbers of deportees. “Whether we call this an ‘age of immigration control’ (Wong, 2015), an era of ‘mass deportation’ (Golash-Boza, 2015), or a ‘deportations delirium’ (Kanstroom and Lykes, 2015), without a doubt deportation and detention are now central to most states’ efforts to control migration. In fact, despite frequently expressed concern over migrants’ human rights and discussion of states’ obligations under international agreements, the use of these punitive practices is on the rise” (Hiemstra, 2016: 2). Countries started to see deportation as a normal part of border control mechanisms despite the concerns from academics. From case studies, an empirically robust and heterogeneous evidence has been found “for the ascendancy of deportation as an ever more pervasive and increasingly standardized instrument for statecraft” (Walters and Cornelisse, 2010: 3). In the Netherlands, the number of deportees has risen since the 90’s (Leerkes, 2014). In the Netherlands, deportation policies have also gotten a lot of critical response from the media. Especially the Telegraaf, a right-wing newspaper with a preference for sensational news (and also the biggest newspaper in the Netherlands) caused commotion (Telegraaf, 2014a; Telegraaf, 2015; Telegraaf 2016a, Telegraaf, 2016b). Articles named deportation “well-nigh impossible” and the deportation policy “failed”. But also the generally more valued newspaper NRC published critical articles and reported on the discussion (NRC, 2016a; NRC 2016b). The social relevance is high due to both the rising
number of deportees and the critical response in the media. Compared with refugee or immigration policy, the historical and political analysis of deportation is poorly developed (Walters, 2002). The academic relevance is therefore also high.
In the theoretical framework, a brief overview of the arguments of why deportation of migrants is unethical will be given. Secondly, the claim that deportation does not have the desired effect (being: immigrants leaving the country), will be looked into. At the end of the theoretical framework, an overview of ethical and practical objections towards deportation policies can be given. After that, research will be done towards why countries, despite the arguments against deporting, still have deportation policies.
This research will be conducted by doing a case study in the Netherlands. The case study will consist of a literature study and expert interviews in the Netherlands.
The research question is: “Why do countries, and the Netherlands in particular, choose for
Before starting this thesis, it is important to clarify terms. Deportation is understood in the definition Gibney and Hansen give: “the return of foreign nationals to their country of origin against their will” (Gibney and Hansen, 2003: 2). There is a clear distinction between
voluntary return and deportation. In voluntary return, individuals are encouraged to return, which can be through carrot or stick measures – or both. Voluntary returns are not the subject of this research, even though they closely align with deportations. Deportations are part of a broader category of removals. Some deportation figures include other removals, such as aliens that arrived at the border but were never admitted to the country. Such ‘removals’ are
commonly referred to as ‘airport turnarounds’ (Ibid: 3). For this research, with deportation only the deportation of those who are forcibly removed from a country in which they are residing is meant.
2.2 History of Deportation
Compared with refugee or immigration policy, the historical and political analysis of
deportation is poorly developed (Walters, 2002). For this reason, it is difficult to give a good overview of the history of deportation. As a background though, a short overview of the developments around deportation policies will be given. Since the 80’s, in some cases the 90’s, Western liberal democracies have started to deport illegal aliens in growing numbers. Nowadays, the practice of deportation might seem like an integral part of border control, even though this is historically incorrect. Exile however, is an old practice of cities and countries alike. According to Bernardo Tanucci, the minister to the King of Naples who was defending the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Kingdom of Naples, “Exile is the most ancient custom of all nations” (Delle Donne, 1970: 142; Kedar, 1996: 172). Exile however is not used against illegal immigrants, but against individuals who are understood to be members of the political community (Walters, 2002: 268-269). It was used not only as a form of punishment, for instance in early Rome where a citizen who was sentenced to death had the choice between exile and death. But it was also used for security. In Athens, the Popular Assembly yearly got the opportunity to vote whether to banish the citizen considered the most dangerous to the
establishment (Thomsen, 1972). And not just in ancient times, also in the Middle Ages exile was a common form of punishment (Walters, 2002). Banishment was a practice that “nullifies all ties between society and the delinquent citizen” (Beccaria, 1963:53)”. In such cases, “the citizen dies and the man remains. With respect to the body politic, [civil death] should produce the same effect as natural death” (Idem, brackets in the original). In more recent reflections from Hannah Arendt, stateless people represented “a new kind of human being— the kind that are put in concentration camps by their foes and in internment camps by their friends” (Arendt, 1994: 111). She would even go as far as saying they had lost “the right to have rights” (Arendt: 1964: 296).
The whole history of the practice of exile makes it seem deportation is nothing anew. However, deportations do create a new dynamic. According to Walters we lose sight of the fact that “for many centuries the expulsion of people has not been between states, but rather empires, out of parishes and cities, from estates and commons” (2002: 275). Modern
deportation, says Walters, is the product of the state system. The following paragraph shows one of the complexities with deportation in the modern state system:
“In a postcolonial era in which the sovereign state norm and form has been more or less globalized, expulsion cannot avoid raising the question of the destination of the expelled. International law generally recognizes the principle that states have an obligation to admit ‘their’ nationals. The rise of deportation as a form of expulsion is therefore marked from the latter half of the nineteenth century onwards by the proliferation of international treaties and laws, alongside diplomacy and informal agreements, which seek to institutionalize this norm. As Caestecker astutely observes in the case of Continental Europe where the fact of contiguity encouraged national cooperation in expulsion matters, if expulsion had previously been a unilateral affair, an act where the state casts out the unwanted, deportation would tend to be bilateral (Caestecker, 1998: 91). This international character of deportation means that deportation is always susceptible to politicization not just on a domestic level, where protests may be mounted in the name of the rights of the expellee. It will also be contestable at an international level where states may bridle at the prospect of (re)admitting the undesirable” (Walzer: 2002: 275).
Looking at for instance British law, we see that the development towards the current
the power to exclude undesired individuals. Nonetheless, these controls were not particularly stringent and few were deported or denied entry following its entry into force (Schuster, 2003b). These controls however, were not particularly stringent, few were deported or denied entry. The Aliens Restriction Act from 1914 was more effective, placing controls over the registration, movement and deportation of all aliens. The main target however, was enemy aliens, i.e. Germans (Bloch and Schuster, 2005). These British laws, whether or not they were aimed at illegal entrants, over stayers and those who have had their asylum claim rejected, they have paved the way for current laws in Europe aimed at exactly these people. According to some, the development of detention becoming an integral part of the migration regime took place over the course of a decade (Bloch and Schuster, 2005: 492).
So from the history of deportation, starting with exile in ancient times, we can take two
things. First of all, that exile has been a common practice for centuries, but as a punishment or in order to improve safety. Also, exile used to be a way of expelling someone from a city or empire, with the rest of the world left as a place to go. Nowadays, with the whole world organised in a state system, expelling someone from a state’s territory means either sending someone to another state or leaving someone stateless. Both the more practical problems as the ethical problems that we see with deportation nowadays will be easier to understand and see in context given this historical overview of deportation.
2.3 Ethical Aspects of Deportation
2.3.1 Criticizing the Ethics of Deportation – the right of the State to deport
There are academics who criticize the ethics of the effect of deportation on the deported. However, before going into the effect on the deported, it is important to note that some scholars criticize the ethics of deportation over all. Not because of the effect it may have on someone who forcibly has to leave the country of residence, but because one can wonder whether a state should have the right to deport at all. Walters and Cornelisse for instance state that there is a global deportation regime, which defines the freedom of movement and the ostensible exclusion of “undesirable” foreigners (2010: 3). This regime requires scholars, but also advocates and activists, to engage in renewed ways with questions of freedom. Both politically and theoretically, the most basic and meaningful sense of freedom gets disputed by deportation: “the freedom to traverse space and to make a place for oneself in the world” (2010: 3). The nation state is a social construct, defining who is part of the nation and by
doing do also defining who is not. Of course, the whole construct can be disputed, at the same time disputing a state’s right of to limit the freedom to traverse space. As seen in the historical overview, deportation is often seen as an extended border control. The right to decide who is, or is not, allowed to enter the country comes from the state’s sovereignty. However, a state cannot strip the rights of a citizen. So even when the state sovereignty is accepted, and also the state’s right to decide who is allowed to enter, the right to deport can still be questioned. This is because deportation is not the same as refusing to admit someone onto the territory. Some scholars state that long-time residents should be seen as citizens, regardless their status.
2.3.2 Harmfulness of deportations
When the right to deport is not being contested because of the questionability of deportation being part of a state’s mandate to start with, it can also be contested because of the effect is has on the deported. Liberal democracies are expected to refrain from harming those who are subject to their rule. Deportation can cause harm, and is therefore up to criticism. The
question is whether this harm is proportional compared to the ‘crime’ committed. Harm is a central concept in the liberal and civic republican traditions of thought and it decides for a big part how we understand human rights (Buckinx and Filindra, 2005). The commitment to harm avoidance is also important in the area of refugee and asylum law. Migrants are given refugee status—and permission to stay—when they are deemed to have suffered (or have reason to fear) persecution on account of, for example, their race, religion, or political activism in their home country. In immigration cases in the United States, a suspension or cancellation of deportation can be obtained when removal is expected to lead to extreme and unusual hardship on the part of deportee. Concerns about ‘lived experience’ suggest that the state is committing a harmful act against the individual when the state removes said individual. According to Kleist and Bob-Milliar, involuntary returns (such as deportations) have severe consequences for migrants and their families (2013). “Returning ‘home’ involuntary is [..] not necessarily a matter of returning to a familiar and welcoming place” (Kleist and Bob-Milliar, 2013: 1). Deportees might face impoverishment and marginalization. They also state that not only development organizations and donors should address this issue, as well as policy-makers. Buckinx and Filindra argue that many individuals will suffer great social, economic, physical, and psychological harm upon their removal (2015). According to them, democratic states must take into consideration the expected harmful effects of territorial removal and cancel the removal of individuals who are likely to be significantly harmed by it. The harm of
deportation cannot be justified as an appropriate punishment for violating state law or as a ‘necessary evil’ that accompanies the pursuit of collective self-determination. The harm of removal is, according to them, not proportionate compared to the crime committed (violating state law). They state that states may need to grant many of their residents a de facto right to continued territorial presence.
2.3.3. Protection of the rights of the deportee after deportation
From the empirics we also find that, even though states may claim that they only deport under certain circumstances, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the states motive. “European governments frequently claim that assurances were sought and received, from the countries to which people are expelled, that torture will not be used. However, a report in the Guardian last year demonstrated the extent to which such assurances are sought not in order to assure the safety of the person to be deported, but rather to facilitate the deportation” (Schuster, 2005: 611). Hence, Schuster exposes a problem here with the ethics of deportation based on the consequences. The report she mentions is an article from the Guardian, detailing the Prime Minister Blair’s attempts to push through four deportations to Egypt from the UK (Guardian, 16 November 2004). The Foreign secretary and senior Home Officials advised against it because Egypt was unlikely to promise not to detain or torture. And even if such promises were made, it would be even less likely that Egypt honoured the promises. In the article, a letter from Prime Minister Blair’s private office is cited, saying he “believes we should use whatever assurances the Egyptians are willing to offer, to build a case to initiate the
deportation procedure and to take our chances in the courts”. If this is the case, the rights of illegal aliens are harmed as well. The article in the Guardian further states that: “When Mr Blair was warned by the home secretary in a private letter that there was "ample evidence from a range of sources of serious human rights abuses in Egypt", and that there was "little scope for pushing deportations any further", he replied: "This is crazy. Why can't we press on?". The example raises serious questions about how human rights can be undermined in the deportation process, and it raises questions on the protection of the rights of the deportee after deportation. If these Egyptians were deported, who would know of guard their rights after they were sent back? And who’s responsibility are those rights?
In addition, the gravity of this problem is difficult to estimate, since right now countries do not monitor their deportees. Once someone gets deported, the person is turned over to the authorities of the country of origin, who should then also protect said person’s rights. The crux lays in that the trust in that government is the thing that is being questioned. Deportation should only occur after the courts have satisfied themselves that the life or freedom of the rejected applicant is not in danger, but if there is no monitoring, it is hard to say whether the checks rights now on the status of a country of origin as a ‘safe’ country is sufficient. Taking this even further, the organization Pro Asyl has tried to maintain contact with deportees from Germany to Turkey. They found that Turkish Kurds had been detained and tortured after their deportation (Pro Asyl, 2000). This all adds to the question regarding who is responsible for the protection of the rights of a deportee after deportation.
2.4 Practical Aspects of Deportation
Deportation, or at least the right to deport those thought to be undesirable from the country or exclude them from entry, is seen as the right of a state. Putting all the unneglectable ethical problems with this claim aside, practical problems arise. There are multiple practical problems to be found in the literature.
2.4.1. Protection of the rights of the deportee during deportation
The first objection named here, is one that is ethical, but about a practical aspect. There are known cases of bad treatment of deportees. The conditions under which people are deported can be “inhumane and degrading”. Even worse, the conditions have led to a number of deaths in recent years (Fekete, 2005). According to Schuster, “details of violence and excessive force being used to compel people to board aircraft have been in circulation for over 10 years” (2005: 611). Recent reports from France confirm these noises, for instance through reports from ANAFÉ (2003a, 2003b). Anne de Loisy, who worked six months as a mediator for the Red Cross, wrote an exposé about the French situation (2005). These sources describe what Schuster (2005: 611) calls a “catalogue of violence and gratuitous force leading to death and injury, associated with deportations from European countries”. The question that remains is who protects deportees. Apparently the system in place is insufficient in doing so.
2.4.2 Cost inefficient / worth it?
Another practical objection to deportation that rises from the literature, is that deportations are very expensive. According to Schuster (2003a), deporting is an expensive and inefficient practice. Data from the Netherlands put the costs of deporting 14,590 people by plane in 2002 at €120.7 million (Schuster, 2005: 618). In order to cut costs, European governments started joint deportations in early 2003, that initially developed outside of the structures of the EU (ibid: 612). The EU allocated €30 million to facilitate joint deportations, with the first joint charter flight taking place in March 2004. Joint deportations may seem as a cost-effective way of carrying out deportations, “yet the organization and personnel involved is intense and expensive, and the destination far from safe” (idem).
Apart from the direct costs of flights etcetera, deportation is often proceeded by detention, which is also highly costly. Next to that, there are other indirect costs. It already starts with the process that leads up to a deportation. Locating, apprehending, prosecuting and sometimes detaining a deportable immigrant is costly. But there are also international indirect costs Ellermann gives a good example of these costs: “In July 1995 the two governments [of Vietnam and Germany, CO] finally signed a readmission agreement that committed Vietnam to the acceptance of 40,000 nationals by the year 2000. It also specified administrative procedures to be followed in disputed identity cases. Even though the German government denied a direct connection, the agreement was part and parcel of a financial assistance deal worth DM200 million (€100 million), DM8 million of which was allocated for the
reintegration of returnees” (Ellerman, 2008: 177). This makes it difficult to give a straightforward amount of budget allocated to the deportation of illegal aliens. That also makes it difficult to answer the question whether the money spend on the deportation of illegal aliens is wisely spend. Another component in answering this question is the success rate of deportations. Since the process leading up to a deportation is also expensive, being unable to bring deportees across the border turns the administrative success (of previously mentioned locating, apprehending, prosecuting and detaining) into sunk costs.
2.4.2 Deportees return
unwanted policy, it might also not be a very useful policy because of re-migration. According to Kleist and Bob-Milliar, involuntary returns may cause high-risk re-migration (2013). Re-migration, or the desire to remigrate, is widespread among returnees and deportees, say Kleist and Bob-Milliar, even though returnees and deportees are “usually well aware of possible migration-related risks” (ibid: 4). Research on the post-deportation experience is limited. Some American studies suggest that transnational family structure likely affects remigration – especially when the father gets deported (Amuedo-Dorantes et al, 2015; Berger Cardoso et al, 2014). Wages in the country of origin might not be sufficient to provide for the family or to pay off debts a deportee may hold, creating an incentive to remigrate. But also other factors than transnational family structures likely affect remigration, since some of repeated re-migrants do not have U.S.-citizen children (DHS, 2009). This means that re-migration is not solely linked to fathers re-migrating to care (financially) for their family. Similar dynamics might occur as well with migrants that do not have the exact same characteristics, since other migrants re-migrate too. Different suggestions are done in the literature, for instance difficult social and psychological setbacks that deportees face may cause remigration, such as
experiences of stigma and displacement in the country of origin (Brotherton and Barrios, 2009; Schuster and Majidi, 2013; Kleist and Bob-Milliar, 2013). Since most of the
re-migration studies have been done in the US, it is difficult to estimate the scale of this problem for Europe. Research into Afghan illegal immigrants suggests that Europe also experiences remigration, albeit maybe only of a specific group (Schuster and Majidi, 2013). Khosravi almost puts it in prose: “My decade-long ethnographic fieldwork among travellers without paper has been full of migrants living a life shaped by a dialectical interplay between
deportation and remigration. […] Several of these Afghan men have been subject to multiple deportations. Others were deported to a country they had never been to. […] They spend a lot of time in one country waiting to find a way to the next one. They speak several languages and have good geographical knowledge about cities, borders, legislations, and transport systems. They are forced cosmopolitan subjects, not by choice, class, or ethnic privileges but by the deportation regime, stuck in a mobility in search of citizenship rights” (2016: 170).
2.4.2 Difficulties with deportation lead to impossibility of deporting
The last argument from the literature is a more broad, practical objection. According to some authors, there are so many problems with deportation, that it de facto lead to an impossibility to deport. According to Gibney and Hansen the actual deportations carried out in Canada and
Germany are, from the standpoint of their respective policies’ avowed aims, “an unimpressive result” (2003: 6), despite efforts of both countries to increase deportation. They even go as far as to say that deportation is “ineffectual” (2003: 2). According to Schuster, deportation is difficult to achieve, “especially in instances where migrants do not have travel or identity documents, or their country of origin is unknown, or they are unwilling to cooperate or the deportation is contested” (2005: 609). The objection has the same difficulty as the objection on cost efficiency. Looking at deportation numbers and policy aims, looking at the number of illegal immigrants ‘disappearing’ somewhere in the process, it becomes clear that deportation is a difficult achievable goal. But as with the costs, where the tipping point lays between ‘expensive’ and ‘inefficient’ is an arbitrary decision just like the tipping point between ‘difficult’ and ‘nearly impossible’. An additional difficulty is the political sensitivity of the subject of deportations. Some countries, such as Germany, do not publish any data on
deportations (Schuster, 2005: 610). France started publishing data on deportations only since 2004, and it still only publish cumulated data (including deportations of undocumented migrants, asylum-seekers, ‘deportations’ of those refused admission at the border, and those deported to another EU country under the Dublin Convention terms) (idem). The difficulty to access data makes it harder to give a substantiated claim about the magnitude of this problem.
As seen, there were multiple critiques on deportation policies, some ethical, some practical, and some both. Summarized, we have the next objections:
Objection Ethical Practical
State has no right to deport to start with x Deportation harmful, especially after longer period x
Who protects rights of deportee after deportation? x x Who protects the rights of deportees during deportation? x x
Cost inefficient x
Deportees return x
Difficulties with deportation lead to impossibility of deporting x Figure 1: Ethical and practical objections to deportation policy
2.6 Discrepancy literature – policy
As seen in the previous paragraphs, there is enough critique from the literature on deportation policies, both practical and ethical. Despite these critiques, all Western democracies,
including the Netherlands, have deportation policies. A gap between science and policy (making) appears. Reasons for such discrepancy can be found in the literature. Alm (2000), researched whether and to what extent scientist and policy makers worked together in the acid rain debate in the U.S. In his research he interviewed both natural and social scientists.
Everybody stated that there was a lack of communication, which some blamed on the policy-makers and others on the scientists (Alm, 2000: 90-94). Many respondents believed that better communications would increase the chance of relevant science making it to policy-makers. Therefore, they called for increased communications and the installation of a formal feedback loop (idem). Another factor mentioned in the literature, is that the size of the science – policy gap is also determined by the level of scientific consensus (Bradshaw and Borchers, 2000). The less scientific consensus, the bigger the science policy gap. In order to close the science – policy gap, a research conducted in Canada and China suggest that research should focus more on policy, but also that there should be more collaboration in study design and more policy recommendations (Choi ed. al, 2016). In the discussion surrounding deportation policies we see that there is a clear focus on policy, since the literature criticizes certain policy. On the other hand, collaboration in study design and policy recommendations seem to be absent. It needs to be researched to what extent there is a collaboration between policy makers and scientists in the Dutch situation, and to what level Dutch policy makers are aware of the research that has been conducted on this topic.
2.7 Explaining the gap
After the research, it should be possible to answer the research question of this paper: “Why
do countries, and the Netherlands in particular, choose for deportation policies (despite the academic critiques)?” The following explanations can be formulated on why the Netherlands
1. The academic critiques are not known within policy circles due to a science – policy gap. Therefore, academic critiques are not applied on policy questions and the discrepancy between the existing policies and academic thinking exists.
2. The academic critiques are either known or not, but are not applicable to the reality in the Netherlands.
3. The academic critiques are either known or not, but moving reasons exists, that weigh heavier than the problems that the policies create (objections).
3.1 Part 1 – Case Study: Literature Study
3.1.1 Case selection
The decision to choose for the Netherlands as the case for this qualitative research, has been made for three reasons. First of all, the Netherlands have a relatively strict return policy (Vollaard et al, 2014). If there are tensions between the return policy, deportations and human rights, then it is most likely that they are noticeable in one of the countries within the
European Union with a relatively strict immigration policy. Next to that, in the Netherlands there has been a public discussion on the deportation policy in the newspapers the last years (for instance NRC, 2016a; NRC 2016b; Telegraaf, 2014a; Telegraaf, 2015; Telegraaf, 2016a). Critical television show Netwerk also dedicated two episodes to alleged ill-treatment of deportees (Netwerk, 2006). Because of the attention deportation received in the media, multiple researches have been conducted and questions in Parliament have been asked. This all makes the Netherlands an interesting case. Apart from that, it is a convenience sample: the country is also selected because of its convenient accessibility and proximity to the
researcher. But, due to the other interesting aspects of this case, this will probably have no negative aspect on the results.
3.1.2 Dutch deportation policies
The preliminary research question is: “Why do countries, and the Netherlands in particular,
choose for deportation policies?”. The first part of the research question is a more broad and
general question: Why do countries choose for deportation policies? Before answering this question from the literature in the second part of the literature study, first of all the Dutch situation needs to be assessed. What deportation policies are in place?
3.1.3 Applicability of Critiques
Some of the critiques are more practical than ethical. Bot type of objection will be researched in the case study. From the literature, important information on the some of the ethical and the
practical objections can be found too. For that reason, the literature study also looks into available information on the applicability of the critiques in the Netherlands.
3.1.3 Reasons to choose for deportation policies
To answer the more general part of the research question towards why countries may choose for deportation policies, a literature study will be conducted. This study will try to find the reasons for countries to choose for such policies (despite the reasons not to).
3.2 Part 2 – Case Study: Interviews
In the interviews study, the second part of the research question will be looked into: why do the Netherlands in particular choose for deportation policies? Case studies have advantages in the identification of new variables and hypotheses (George and Bennett, 2005). The literature study already tries to give possible explanations for countries choosing deportation policies. However, there is not much research on forced migration. This study aims to shine a new light on the practice of deportation policies. It is partly theory testing (the objections and possible reasons to choose for deportation policies come from the literature), but it is also open to identifying new variables. In order to answer the research question, expert interviews will be used. The use of expert interviews as an instrument to collect data is quite common in political science (Dorussen, Lenzand and Blavoukos, 2005). Experts may provide a unique source for ‘inside’ information about the policy-making process. In political science, experts ‘code’ information about policy processes and political actors. They are thus comparable to doctors diagnosing patients or coders of texts in content analysis. For this reason, this research uses the opinion of experts to get information about the reasons of choosing for deportation policies. The opinion of experts is also used to get information about the practical aspects of the Dutch situation. The ‘Inspectie Veiligheid en Justitie’ is responsible for the independent control of the deportation and return process of aliens from the 1st of January 2014 and were
therefor interviewed. Of course this committee has a supervisory role, not a policy making one. But it can still be of a big value to the research for two reasons. First of all, because of their critical reports. Secondly, and maybe mostly, because of their knowledge of the subject
and their closeness to the policymaking. Also, political parties were contacted. Multiple members of the Parliament have asked questions about the Dutch return policy after a national newspaper published two critical articles (Telegraaf, 2016). Next to the inspection and
politicians, policy makers are also viewed as experts. An example is the Dienst Terugkeer & Vertrek (DT&V) (whose director was the cause of the questions in Parliament, since he made the critical comments on which De Telegraaf based its article). They are not directly policy makers, but implementers of the policy. From this perspective however, they might have more inside knowledge and insight in the creation and reasoning behind the policy. Also academic experts on the topic were approached. Unfortunately, one of the interviewees found herself not knowledgeable enough on this topic during the interview, and another who said to be willing to be interviewed was not able to make time.
The interviews were conducted semi-structured. This interview style is most appropriate when the researcher already has some knowledge about the topic, but wants to gain in-depth
knowledge, insider perspective and detail (Leech, 2002). Such information can be gained with a semi-structured interview, while at the same time allowing hypothesis testing. Based upon the data already gathered through existing sources, such as reports, policies, questions in the Parliament and so on, a semi structured questioning schedule can be made. The questions are open-ended questions, leaving room for the experts to share new insights, contractionary views or other perspectives on the matter.
3.2.2 Interviews – structure
The interviews were held semi structured. The structure was based upon the first part of the research, the literature study. The interviews will be used to see whether these arguments are used by people from the field as well. Also, the case is supposed to research whether new reasons to choose for deportation policies come up. “The clinical researcher may have
(probably must have) some sort of checklist of points to look into during its course, or perhaps even a preliminary model of the individual being studied; but actual study proceeds more by feel and improvisation than by plan” (Gomm and Hammersley, 2000: 120). Based upon the first part of the study, ideas and expactations about the Dutch situation can be formulated. But during the research and interviews, it is necessary to be open to new views, ideas and
variables. First of all, to respect the interviewee and create an open environment for him or her to speak. But also, since this research aims to explorer new ideas, thoughts and reasons for
deportation policies than already known, it is important not to dismiss new explanations that come to light. The following structure was used:
1. What is your position within the organization? 2. How does your work relate to return policy?
3. Which negative aspects do you see or know from the academic world? 4. Go through objection A-G, 1) do you know this critique? 2) do you think it is
applicable to the Dutch situation? Why?
5. Why do the Netherlands choose for deportation policies? 6. What is the desired effect of deportation policies?
7. Does it have this effect?
On a side note, for the conduction of the interviews the use of the word ‘deportation’ was avoided. In English, and in the academic literature, the use of the word ‘deportation’ in order to refer to deportation policies is common. In Dutch however, a very negative connotation with the word deportation exists. As Schuster already noted, European governments prefer to avoid ‘deportation’ and rather choose for euphemisms such as ‘removal’ or ‘return’, since deportation awakes memories of “the deportations to camps and across Europe during the Second World War” (Schuster, 2005: 618). In the Netherlands in 2004, a public dispute between PvdA member and former minister Pronk and then minister Verdonk arose. Pronk, at that moment president of the Vluchtelingenorganisatie Nederland (VON), stated that the ‘removal of illegal aliens looked much like deportation’ in a conversation with Verdonk. Verdonk then evacuated Pronk and refused to talk to him or the VON. Later on she came back on that statement and spoke to the VON again, whilst still refusing to receive and talk to Pronk in person. Multiple media were involved in the disturbance, for instance Trouw (2004a, 2004b). In order to avoid uncomfortable situations and to avoid offending any of the
interviewees, the word ‘deportation’ was avoided. Instead, ‘terugkeerbeleid’ (‘return policies’, the current euphemism used in Dutch politics), or ‘uitzetbeleid’ (which translates to
‘deportation policy’) was used, and ‘deportatiebeleid’ (‘deportation policy’) was avoided. All of these terms will be translated back to ‘deportation’, since they in practice amount to the same thing.
In order to gain as much insight as possible, the different players in the field were contacted: policy makers, political parties, implementing agencies, partners in the ‘vreemdelingenketen’ (immigration process), and monitoring agencies. Since this research had to be conducted in limited time, a selection from all groups has been made. The following interviewees were spoken to:
A1 Senior policy advisor from the Ministry of Security and Justice
A2 Policy officer from the Partij van de Arbeid A3 Policy officer from D66
Implementing agencies A4 Manager from DT&V
A5 Policy officer from IOM
A6 Two inspectors from the Inspectie VenJ
Unfortunately, it has proven to be very difficult to get to speak to someone of the IND. Amnesty International, which has shown to be a very critical and knowledgeable entity in the discussion, was not willing to make time until March 2017 since Amnesty International is conducting a research itself. Due to the deadline for this research, Amnesty International is not included. Also, no academics were involved. One respondent decided that she was not knowledge enough during the interview, and another who wanted to participate could not make time.
Results – Literature Study
4.1 Dutch deportation policy
The first part of the case study will consist of looking into the Dutch return policy in order to better understand the reasons to choose for deportation policies. According to the second paragraph of Article 2 of the Constitution, the legislature should regulate the admission and expulsion of aliens. This matter is, in particular with regard to the powers, procedures and formal requirements, arranged in the ‘Vreemdelingenwet 2000’. Immigration law is very complex. In the Dutch situation, procedural law partly deviates from the ‘Algemene Wet Bestuursrecht’ (Awb, General Administrative Law Act). Also, there is a strong influence from international and EU law. The source of this complexity is the tension between two normative principles: national sovereignty, which is traditionally large regarding the admission and expulsion of aliens, and the human rights standards and EU rules which are supra-national and limit the sovereignty.
The ‘Vreemdelingenwet 2000’ (Vw 2000) is structured on the base of sequentially,the law runs more or less parallel with aliens law procedures over time. Apart from that, there is a distinction in the law between those who are seeking asylum and others, as ‘regular’ indicated aliens, who request admission on other grounds such as family reunification, labour etc. As said, the Vw 2000 is sequential, which means that it follows the course of the alien: entry, legal residence for a certain, or for an indefinite period of time, then supervision / monitoring and restriction of freedom or imprisonment (whether or not aimed at deportation), and as a final, legal protection. Chapter 2 deals with the start of the stay, the entry of foreigners. The law does this in Article 3 by controlling who will be denied access. Access refers to actual entry. There is no right of residence as a result of the mere provision of access. Chapter 3 contains rules on lawful residence: short-term “Vrije Termijn” (free period) (Article 12 of the Vw 2000), the residence permit for certain and for an indefinite period (Articles 14 et seq and article 20 et seq.) and the residence permit for a definite and indefinite (Articles 28 et seq and 33 et seq). Obviously, there is a distinction between these residence permits, both as regards the criteria for granting it (on regular versus asylum grounds) as regards the entitlement derived from it. An important feature of the residence permit for an indefinite period is that there are only limited opportunities for revocation (Articles 22 and 35). The same applies to asylum residence permit for an indefinite period (Article 35). Chapter 4 equips a number of
officials with supervisory powers. Chapter 5 contains extensive measures, such as freedom restriction and detention. If the request for a residence permit for a fixed period has been denied, the alien may be required to stay in a given area or place (Article 57), which, if necessary, can be secured to prevent unauthorized departure (deprivation of liberty under Article 58). Then there is alien detention, deprivation of liberty on account of deportation. The State has the right to deport when there is no possibility of legal stay.
Given the many major decisions and actions against the alien, his judicial protection is of uttermost importance. In Chapter 7 is explained that the legal protection is in accordance with the Awb: objection, appeal, appeal. But, there are many exceptions. For instance, in asylum cases there is no objection phase (Article 80), but (only) a determination procedure (Article 39), of which are distinct variants with different deadlines. Regarding freedom-restricting measures there is in asylum cases no objection phase (Article 75).
Deportation is possible for anyone who has gone through the whole procedure of the Vw 2000 and has no legal right to stay. The'Immigratie- en Naturalisatie Dienst' (Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND) is responsible for assessing and reviewing the application. After the IND has given its judgement, an applicant can appeal to the court. After the judgment of the judge, the applicant can appeal to the court again. The ‘Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek’ (DT&V) is responsible for the return of the failed asylum seeker / illegal alien. The DT&V has multiple tools to facilitate return, from which the most are part of enabling the illegal alien to return voluntarily. This happens through support from the ‘Directie Ondersteuning en Voorbereiden Terugkeer’ (OVT) of the DT&V. The DT&V works closely together with the ‘Centraal Orgaan opvang asielzoekers’ (COA). The COA is an organization that provides care and assistance for aliens. The COA provides people in a vulnerable situation (temporary) housing and assists them in preparing for their future in the Netherlands or elsewhere. The DT&V works closely with the COA to prepare and supervise failed asylum applicants without a residence permit, for their departure from the Netherlands. Another important partner is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for instance in the context of making arrangements with
(immigration) authorities of countries of origin and in the development of country strategies for departure and return. DT&V also works closely together with the International
Organization for Migration (IOM). The IOM support is comprised of information and advice for illegal aliens, facilitating transport and arranging travel documents to facilitate voluntary return. The departure of an alien from the Netherlands happens in an ideal situation voluntary.
Only if voluntary return does not take place, forced return (deportation) becomes an option. Deportation is undertaken against illegal entrants, over stayers and those who have had their application rejected, after all options for voluntary return have been exhausted. This type of departure is the task of the ‘Directie Toezicht en Maatregelen’ (TM) of the DT&V.
Depending on the level of cooperation of the alien in his return process, his freedom of movement can be restricted leading up to a deportation. An important partner in facilitating deportations is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Deportation only occurs after the courts have satisfied themselves that the life or freedom of the rejected applicant is not in fact in danger. This means that deportation only happens to so-called ‘safe countries’, a judgement largely relying on official reports from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Another important partner is the Royal Military Police (Marechaussee, KMar), who escort the forced returns. As becomes clear, there are many institutions and agencies involved in the return process. Very important for the whole process is the Ministry of Security and Justice, since the IND and the DT&V are agencies of this Ministry.
4.2 Applicability of ethical critiques
The Dutch deportation policy has just been explained. The objections from the literature on deportation policy were the following:
Objection Ethical Practical a State has no right to deport to start with x
b Deportation harmful, especially after longer period x
c Who protects rights of deportee after deportation? x x d Who protects the rights of deportees during deportation? x x
e Cost inefficient x
f Deportees return x
g Difficulties with deportation lead to impossibility of deporting
x Figure 2: Ethical and practical objections to deportation policy A-G
How in the Dutch situation Objection A is seen, will be tested in the interviews. The
applicability of Objection B, deportation after long term stay, can be tested in the interviews but as well from looking at the Dutch legislature.
It is important to note some differences between the American deportation policies and the Dutch. Some studies are from other countries than the US, such as the explained practical problems with deportation (abuses in France and the UK during deportations, European studies on return of deportees, European studies towards costs and effectiveness). A large part of the ethical objections come from American studies, in which deportation after long-term stay gets criticized. In Europe, and in the Netherlands in particular, staying illegally for a long time is very difficult. Also, the waiting time for an initial assessment of a residence permit application makes it seem like deportations after long-term stay are not to blame on the government. The IND states the following when it comes to waiting times: “In about 60% of the asylum applications the IND will decide within 8 days. In about 40% of the applications, the IND needs more time. Usually, the IND then still decides within six months. Nevertheless, sometimes an applicant must wait longer, for example, if he lodges an appeal to the courts against a refusal of his asylum application. If he wins the case, the IND looks at the matter again and takes a new decision. Further, the decision can be postponed up to 9 months. This happens for example when the identity or nationality of the applicant must be investigated or many asylum seekers apply for asylum at the same time. The decision can be postponed up to 1 year, if the State Secretary of Security and Justice wants the IND to wait to decide until the situation in the country of origin of the applicant is clearer or safer” (IND, 2015b)
[Translation: CO]. Due to the high influx of immigrants the last years, the 6-month term for the first assessment of an application has been temporary lengthened with 9 months to 15 months on the 11th of February 2016 (Staatscourant, 2016). Thus deportation after long-term stay does not really seem to blame on the government. However, granting temporary work permits and temporary asylum status, creates prolonged stay which might lead up to
deportation after long-term stay. When someone is informed about the initial assessment of their application and are rewarded a 3 or 5-year residence permit, a new application could still be declined. The dynamic of deportation after long-term stay might therefore be an existing problem.
Another specific dynamic, is the group that gets deported. Most of the deportees from the US are illegal migrant workers from South America (Nevins, 2002). The United States remove around 400.000 noncitizens from its territory annually (Buckinx and Filindra, 2015). These numbers have been rising over the last years, coming from 189.026 in 2001. Most of these people are illegal migrant workers, who often have lived in the US for a long time. In case their children are born in the US, they are considered US citizens. Deporting illegal migrant workers that have lived in the US for a long time often also means ripping families apart. The dynamic of separating families is addressed in the literature (Amuedo-Dorantes et al, 2015; Berger Cardoso et al, 2014). In the Dutch situation however, the discussion around
deportations consists largely of the deportations of rejected asylum seekers. This distinction is important, because both seem to have their own characteristics. This makes a difference as well in the applicability of ethical objections. DT&V assists in the return of everyone who has to leave the Netherlands. DT&V get their records from the IND, who assess all visa
applicants, including, but not limited to, asylum applicants. DT&V also assists in the return of any irregular migrant with no outlook on a residence permit, which includes migrant workers. But even within the group of asylum seekers, which seem to have unique characteristics on first sight, overlap with the American deported migrant workers can be found. Especially the critique on deporting only the parents is applicable, just like the critique on deportation after long-term stay. There have been cases that prove this is a dynamic that occurs in the Dutch situation, for instance in the case of the Amiri family. Since the DT&V nor the IND publish about specific cases, only cases that made the media are known. In this specific case, Mr. Amiri, father of three, was deported from the Netherlands to Afghanistan afters years of residence in the Netherlands (NOS, 2015). His wife and three children were allowed to stay. Even though it is difficult to estimate the scale of this problem due to a lack of numbers, this example shows that the exact same phenomenon can occur.
4.3 Applicability of practical critiques
How Dutch policymakers and politicians view the ethics of the Dutch policies will be further explored in the second part of the research (Chapter 5). The practical critiques will be
reviewed in the interviews as well, but can also be (partly) tested and checked from existing information, being objection c-g.
Objection C questions who protects the rights of a deportee after deportation, since there are multiple examples from the empirics of deportations leading to human rights offends in the country of origin. In the Netherlands, this could also be a problem. As explained, the Dutch system tries to prevent deportations towards unsafe countries. The first way is to give a rejected asylum seeker the possibility to appeal (multiple times). The application is therefore first reviewed by the IND, and then by a judge (or multiple judges). If the situation occurs where someone feels his application is rejected on the wrong basis, he can apply for (legal) assistance at a couple of parties, for instance the Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA) and at multiple NGO’s. The ‘Raad voor Rechtsbijstand’ (RvR) is an independent administrative body commissioned by the Ministry of Security and Justice to arrange legal aid. Asylum seekers can apply at the RvR for legal aid, which is (depending on their income) completely free (Website RvR, 2010). With these measures, the government tries to prevent deportations to unsafe countries. Still, since there is no monitoring, thus there are no numbers available of people who have experienced human rights violations after deportation. There are no monitoring mechanisms by other parties than the government, nor NGO’s that (regularly) monitor deportees after deportation.
The system of providing legal aid and sharing knowledge between NGO’s and asylum seekers who can ask for legal assistance, is an important measure. The German report mentioned earlier that exposed human rights abuse of Kurdish deportees by Turkey, has been used in front of a Dutch judge to prevent the rejection of an asylum application (Website
Rechtsspraak, 2002). In the hearing the report was used to defend the asylum application of a certain applicant, with the lawyer stating: “In the report of the German organization Pro Asyl ‘Von Deutschland in den türkischen Folterkeller’ of June 2000, mention is made of 32 cases of torture or ill-treatment after return. In Germany, these statements are given credence so therefore these statements may not easily be overlooked. Furthermore, it appears from the report that only little suspicion of PKK-involvement is necessary to become the victim of serious human rights abuses” (Court Ruling JV 2001/155, Website Rechtspraak, 2002) [Translation: CO]. The judge however still rejected the request, based on multiple grounds (such as discrepancy in the applicant’s statements). Even though the judge did not rule in the applicant’s favour, the case shows that this problem does reach the courts, and that research on this topic is known of and used. In the interviews, the scale of this problem and the ethical side – whose responsibility is the safety of a deportee? – needs to be explored more.
Objection D questions the protection of a deportee during deportation. From different sources, serious signs arise that multiple authorities / countries mistreat people during a deportation. In the Netherlands, the monitoring and inspection of the return process lays with the ‘Inspectie Veiligheid en Justitie’ (the Inspection Safety and Justice, Inspectie VenJ), which is the commission responsible for overseeing the immigration process. The IND recognizes the vulnerability of immigrants, especially after a suicide in 2013. Then State Secretary Teeven asked the ‘Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid’ (investigation board for security) to look into the safety of aliens entrusted to the protection of the State. Even though there were no indications that (failed) asylum seekers were structurally unsafe, the State Secretary should introduce measures to limit the risks imposed on an alien. The reason that the Inspectie VenJ got the responsibility to monitor the safety of aliens as well, was a direct recommendation from the report of the Onderzoeksraad: setting external supervision (IND, 2015a; Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid, 2014). The Inspectie took over the responsibility of monitoring the return process from the ‘Commissie Integraal Toezicht Terugkeer’ (CITT), but now also with a focus on treatment of aliens (instead of just effectiveness of the policy itself).
Another, more important, aspect in the Dutch attention for the safety during deportations is a scandal from 2006. TV-show ‘Netwerk’ aired episodes that exposed information on the methods the KMar used to control deportees, including the throttling of the carotid artery (Netwerk, 2006). According to the images shown in Netwerk, the KMar would be guilty of applying structural, improvised, excessive force during the deportation of aliens. The
broadcasts caused much commotion. The TV-show led to questions in Parliament and a lot of newspaper articles. The KMar then requested an independent research, which was finished in July 2007 (Commissie van Toezicht Uitzettingen, 2007). This research concluded that during the deportation of aliens, there is no structural, excessive application of force by the KMar that goes beyond the rules of engagement (ibid: 17). However, fact remains that incidental, improvised force occurs (idem). Also, one has to keep in mind that even necessary and permissible force can seem intimidating and violent in the eyes of a bystander or another passenger. The report includes all measures of force that are permissible, but also some of the difficult cases the escorts come across. For their own and the other passengers’ safety, the use of force is sometimes unavoidable. It remains very important to keep looking for the most
humane options to control an unwilling deportee. Some escorts also pointed out that the KMar already has a lot less options than the escorts of some other countries. Escorts experience that other countries use much less stringent rules. It has happened that aliens from other countries who flew with the same plane sat completely sedated in their seats (ibid: 10).
To monitor and avoid any excesses in the future, the Inspectie VenJ monitors the deportation process from close by. Officers even fly along on some flights. From the reports of the Inspectie VenJ, no indications of human rights abuses during deportations become apparent (Inspectie VenJ, 2016). The inspections showed that the alien is accompanied with care by employees of the DV&O and the KMar (Ibid: 23). Elements that showed room for
improvement were rather too cautious in treatment than showing carelessness or ill-treatment. The report for instance reads that there is room for improvement when it comes to the
searching of minors. “It appeared that in 6% of the cases, no search is carried out. These 6% turned out to be minor aliens, where the KMar in these specific cases considered the interest of the child in deciding not to entrust it with a body search. The Inspection notes that not searching a minor, risks to endanger the safety during the remainder of the return process, both for the alien themselves, their accompanying staff, as for any other passengers. After all, also minors can be in possession of objects that constitute a danger for the safe conduct of the deportation” (ibid: 23-24) [Translation: CO]. The Inspection concludes that “the execution of the deportation of aliens proceeds in general carefully” (ibid: 25) [Translation: CO].
The next objection states that deportation processes are cost inefficient, due to all the
authorities and personnel involved, due to high costs of transportation such as planes, due to high costs surrounding deportations (such as detention, but also costly deals with receiving countries), and due to the low level of actual returns that makes a single successful
deportation so expensive. The CITT recognizes some of these objections. In its latest report (before its responsibilities were transferred to the Inspectie VenJ), last minute cancellations and no-shows for booked airplane seats laid around 30% (CITT, 2014). According to the CITT, the cancellations has been put on the agenda with repetition, “not only because of the related unnecessary human and financial costs, but also because of the credibility of the return process” (ibid: 4) [Translation: CO]. The CITT report made multiple Dutch news media (Telegraaf, 2014a; TPO, 2014). The report also inspired some media to do its own research now the CITT is not responsible for the monitoring anymore. In 2015, almost 40% of the
planned deportations failed at the last moment (NRC, 2016a). 1225 of 3165 booked airplane seats stayed empty because the illegal alien did not show up. Also the KMar personnel that arrived to escort the alien to the airplane in a lot of cases, came in vain. Numbers like these are not published anywhere by the Ministry of Security and Justice and are not publicly accessible. NRC requested the figures themselves. Costs are not openly published either. It is therefore difficult to conclude whether or not the process is too expensive. Furthermore, the question of where the tipping point lays between ‘expensive’ and ‘inefficient’ also relays on the considered worth. That is a political question, that cannot be answered objectively. Based on the number the NRC provides, it is easy to criticize the cost efficiency though.
Another element in the cost efficiency discussion, is the discussion about (costly) detention. Since the early 1980s, there has been a detention capacity increase in the Netherlands (Van Kalmthout, 2005: 322). The capacity for administrative immigrant detention was only 45 places in 1980, with the measure to detain irregular migrants being executed 450 times. Those 45 places were ‘earmarked’ cells in normal prisons, whilst the detention capacity in the 1990s was specifically designed for migrant detention (Broeders, 2010: 176). Broeders and Den Hollander also point out that “the Dutch Expulsion Centres in Rotterdam and at Schiphol airport were introduced under the banner of a government programme that was called ‘Towards a safer society’. In other words, the intensification of expulsion policies by means of these centres was introduced as a measure of public safety, and not primarily as a measure of immigration policy” (Broeders, 2010: 176; Den Hollander, 2004: 160). In 2006, the capacity for migrant detention reached 3310 places (Broeders, 2010). Detention can only end in two possible outcomes: the alien getting deported or released back onto the streets (often with the same irregular status he was brought into detention for). Detention is one of the costliest measures in the Dutch return policy, and is often used before forced returns. If the costs of this measure are so high, and it has been used more and more over the last decades, it is easy to assume it is a very effective measure. When looking into the IND’s records, it similarly appears this way. Whilst looking into this subject more under Objection G, it is relevant for this topic too to realise that the IND assumes that detention leads to expulsion of around 60% of all detainees (Broeders, 2010: 177), whilst independent researchers have come up with different numbers. Van Kalmthout, who included 400 immigrant detainees in his research, claims that a much lower percentage of migrants actually gets expelled: around 40% or maybe even lower (Van Kalmthout, 2007: 101). This percentage is, according to Broeders (2010: 177) “rather low, especially when set against a background of rising length of
detention and increasing costs”.
Since the Netherlands do not monitor people after their deportation, it is hard to say how many people return after a deportation. The European Union has started saving biometric information (finger prints) from asylum applicants in 2006 through the Visa Information System (VIS) and the Biometric Matching System (BMS) (Website EU, 2017; European Union and Daon, 2006). Before, it was possible to apply multiple times under different names, a forgery that has become way harder now. European countries do not exchange information on returns of deportations, so it is difficult to say what percentage of deportees shows up at another European border. There are also no public numbers of deportees
returning at the Dutch border. An additional problem is that someone who has been deported, probably will not use a legal route back into the Netherlands but is more likely to come (and reside) illegally. This makes it even harder to estimate whether this is a problem.
The last practical objection is the most profound practical critique. Some scholars note that due to the difficulties encountered when deporting, it becomes (nearly) impossible to deport. This is a critique that finds much resonance in Netherlands. Especially the Telegraaf caused commotion (Telegraaf, 2014a; Telegraaf, 2015; Telegraaf 2016a, Telegraaf, 2016b). The chairman of the CITT was quoted in the Telegraaf saying: “After six years, the committee came to the conclusion that in the present state of affairs the effective removal of aliens - partly because all guarantees, legal rules and judicial assistance – has become an almost impossible task for all employees involved in the deportation process” (Telegraaf, 2014a) [Translation: CO]. There are many things that can go wrong during a deportation, all of which can lead to an impossibility to deport. Some of these problems are recognized in the Dutch situation. The newspaper NRC listed a few: failed asylum seekers can prolong their stay with medical procedures or legal procedures, some foreign governments refuse to take back their nationals and the willing of the Dutch government to deport humane (NRC, 2016b).
As the numbers mentioned under Objection E already showed, almost 40% of deportations are cancelled at the last moment (NRC, 2016a). What makes it even more difficult to judge the feasibility of credible deportation policy is the number of people that ‘disappear’