Students of the IKSO Secondary School in Denderleeuw, East Flanders, submitted 450 letters to the cabinet of Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, protesting against the expulsion threat hanging over their schoolmate, Ardian Nuhiji, and his family. Nuhiji, who is from Macedonia, has been living in Denderleeuw for eight years now with his family. In late February, his mother and grandmother were arrested and taken to a detention centre at 127bis in Steenokkerzeel with a view to being deported. Adrian, his father and his sister, a student in the school Karel de Grote in Antwerp, have not been seen since.
For years, the Nuhiji family had been embroiled in residence permit applications. “They’ve been living in Belgium for eight years now; they have invested enormously in their future”, says Adrian’s teacher, Mieke De Neve, who notes that the family is an “example of successful integration”. “They speak perfect Dutch and participate actively in social life”, she explains.
“The procedure has to be reviewed, shortened and made more humane; it’s inhuman to send people back to a country they no longer know, in which they’ve become foreigners”, argues Mrs. De Neve. “We hope Adrian will be able to start back to school soon.”