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Cabinet tensions rise ahead of key debate on child refugee amnesty

THE NETHERLANDS. The four coalition parties have still not found a solution for the child refugee amnesty crisis, which is threatening to cause a serious division in the coalition.

Parliament will debate the amnesty for well-rooted child refugees on Wednesday morning, and MPs from three of the four coalition parties have said they support a more lenient system. Only the right-wing Liberal VVD is opposed. The u-turn by Christian Democrats earlier this month means there is now majority support for change within parliament.

Talks on Monday evening were ‘constructive’ and ‘progress was made’, party leaders told reporters after their meeting. ‘But in the interests of progress, we will say nothing more about the matter,’ CDA leader Sybrand Buma said. The VVD, which runs the justice ministry, has so far refused to budge on the coalition agreement which said there would be no change in the amnesty.

Some 400 to 700 children, many of whom were born in the Netherlands, are currently threatened with deportation because they don’t meet the terms of the amnesty, which was established in 2013. Campaigners and child rights groups say the rules – including the proviso that refugees cooperate with efforts to deport them – make it almost impossible to qualify. Very few children have benefited from the amnesty in the past five years.

‘They have to find a solution before the debate otherwise the opposition will play them off against each other,’ NOS correspondent Xander van der Wulp said. ‘Then we would have a real crisis.’

This article appeared first on

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