On Friday, the federal Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, rejected the Brussels region’s call for the federal government to cover the cost of accommodating undocumented immigrants. At issue are those with no residence status and in transit within Belgium, in the Brussels region at a given time.
The Tweet from the N-VA Leader came back “0 euro”, in response to the Brussels government’s wish to invoice the federal government upon the reopening of the reception centre Porte d’Ulysse in Haren, which is enabling the accommodation of some 200 people.
The centre, which opened to receive migrants in the winter of 2017 to 2018, had to close on April 30. Pascal Smet is the Minister for Homeless Support, having responsibility for this together with Céline Fremault (cdH). Smet had emphasized, “It is not morally responsible to leave hundreds of people to seek refuge in public spaces, in our stations or parks.”
In Theo Francken’s view, it is necessary on the other hand to put an end to “the policy of treating undocumented immigrants with kid gloves (known in Dutch as ‘knuffelpolitiek’, or the ‘Bisounours’ policy).” Questioned on VRT, he threw the ball back into the court of Brussels mayors and police services. In his view both are refusing to take positive action.
In particular, he targets the Mayor of Schaerbeek, Bernard Clerfayt (DéFI), accused of playing “a game to garner votes by posing as the greatest humanist.” Francken is critical of those “left-wing humanists who oppose the right-wing government, of Francken and Jambon.” (who is, of course, the N-VA Minister for the Interior). He speaks of fighting against those who are allowing the creation of “a migratory hub between Italy and United Kingdom.”
Francken as the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, stresses that those affected must make a request for asylum, in which case they will receive enough to eat and find accommodation on the same day.