Mayor who hid asylum seekers from authorities won’t be punished

Syrian asylum seekers (Photo: Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons)Syrian asylum seekers (Photo: Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons)

Weert Mayor Jos Heijmans will not be punished for hiding a Syrian mother and her four children so that they would not be sent back to Germany, Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs wrote in a letter to parliament, ANP reports.

According to Plasterk, while the Mayor did not have the authority to do what he did, he did not violate the law. So no legal steps will be taken against him.

The Syrian woman officially registered as an asylum seeker in Germany before coming to the Netherlands. International treaties state that asylum seekers must complete their asylum process in the country where they first register. Which means that she had to go back to Germany. Her 18-year-old brother first registered in the Netherlands, so he would stay here.

Heijmans felt it would be devastating to the children to break up the family, as the brother played a father-figure role for them. So he decided to help them hide from the authorities.

State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice rebuked the mayor for his actions, reports. According to Dijkhoff, Heijmans frustrated the execution of the asylum law, caused the family to live in uncertainty longer and delayed the start of their integration into Western Europe.