Two asylum centers for refugees from safe countries plan to shut down
Ter Apel and Budel want to close asylum seeker reception centers for refugees from safe countries in an attempt to deter them from staying in the Netherlands, NOS reported.
At the same time, asylum seeker reception seekers across the country have been struggling to accommodate refugees, chair of the Central Organ for Asylum Seeker Reception (COA), Milo Schoenmaker told the AD. At one point, refugees in Ter Apel had to sleep on chairs due to a shortage of beds.
It has been estimated by the Immigration and Naturalization Services that the around 70 asylum seeker reception centers in the country have been housing around 30 thousand refugees.
The shortage of asylum seeker reception centers has been increasing and could lead to refugees having to sleep in gym halls, as occurred during the refugee crisis 2015.
In Ter Apel and Budel, where there are two large refugee reception centers, residents have been complaining about an increase in shoplifting and disturbance for years. The two villages were the only ones who were willing to take in refugees from safe countries as part of an experiment that will end this year. Ter Apel and Budel now said it is time for other places to step up.
"You also see an increase in the number of disturbance complaints from asylum seekers from safe countries," CDA council member in Ter Apel Herma Hemmen said. Hemmen said she was against bringing more refugees from safe origin countries to the village.
The COA has been trying for years to convince municipalities to house refugees from safe countries separately.
Schoenmaker already warned in 2019 that the COA required more capacity to house refugees. "We already sounded the alarm bells. In November 2019, we said that we needed five thousand extra spots. It would be nice if the new Cabinet took note of this in the new coalition agreement."