Thursday, 19 May 2016 - 08:00
Asylum seekers re-screened for nat'l security threats
Early this year the police re-screened all 58 thousand asylum seekers who arrived in the Netherlands in 2015. All names were again checked for possible "hits" in the police's terrorism database and no extra information emerged, according to a letter from the Ministry of Security and Justice, De Gelderlander reports. Minister Ard van der Steur and State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff wrote this letter in response to a report the Inspectorate of Security and Justice published on Wednesday, saying that the identification process on asylum seekers was not carefully done. The identification process forms an integral part of an asylum seeker's registration process and is handled in the shelters in Budel and Ter Apel. It involves, among other things, checking the applicant's travel documents, luggage, fingerprints and cell phones. But not all of these checks were done properly, according to the Inspectorate. For example, cellphones are only superficially checked and no efforts were made to retrieve deleted data. "With this not only does the asylum process and eventual return process not get full support, but the intended contribution to the fight against smuggling, human trafficking and terrorism is achieved limited at best", the Inspectorate wrote, according to NU.nl The Inspectorate cites one employee that blames limited capacity for the problems. "Reading 30 or 40 gigabytes of Arabic texts is a hell of a job. If you would like to get through all of it, you need 40 extra employees." The equipment for screening finger prints also crashes on a regular basis and there are doubts about whether luggage is always properly checked due to time constraints. The Inspectorate also notes that some improvements were made, including on capacity and on the equipment used to check mobile phones.