That immigration and refugee policies in the Netherlands – as elsewhere – have changed radically, is no surprise. How much the Dutch public debate and language has shifted did come as a surprise, when I attempted to re-integrate in the Netherlands three years ago. Constant streams of border-line racist language have become common, particularly of course to demonise a Muslim population in this country.
In this week when two Senegalese men were brutally murdered in Florence, Italy, and three others wounded, the Dutch Volkskrant reported the arrest of thirty and deportation of twelve illegal workers. These were women (I presume) that were cleaning the houses in richer Dutch towns like Heemstede and Bloemendaal, very attractive parts of the tulip areas of the lowlands. The discriminatory nature of these actions (reportedly the 1st time domestic workers were targeted) wasn’t bad enough, was illustrated by a lack of attention to and consequences for the rich Dutch families that most likely knowingly employed illegal workers, under illegal working conditions (which is practice in an estimated 500,000 Dutch households). But the method of identification showed what I perceive as a constant downward spiral of the norms of equality. People with ‘negroid appearances’ were the primary suspects in the policy raids, while traveling by bus was an additional criteria – highly effective criteria, no doubt, in those areas!
In a few cases the workers have managed to appeal against deportation, and at least one lawyer (of Appia & Van der Lee lawyers, Amsterdam, specialising in immigration cases), has appealed against these deeply insulting and racist practices.