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Contested policies of exclusion: Resistance and protest against asylum policy in the Netherlands

By Inge Versteegt and Marcel Maussen

This case study by Inge Versteegt and Marcel Maussen, focuses on contestation and protest against Dutch asylum policy. The auhtors are interested in the reasons and arguments used by the protesters, the way they draw on concepts such as tolerance, toleration and basic respect, and the consequences of these protests for Dutch asylum and expulsion policy.

A large percentage of Dutch voters believe that immigration should be curbed to a minimum and Dutch immigration and asylum policy now have a reputation as among the strictest in Europe. But there is also protest: against the unfair treatment of asylum seekers during their asylum application, against (rejected) asylum seekers being excluded from basic social rights, against the bad circumstances of alien detention, and many people worry about the situation of children without legal status. There is also highly mediatized public protest on behalf of individuals who are at risk to be expelled and who are said to be “well integrated”.

This study analyses the cases of Sahar and Mauro, two young end-of-line asylum seekers who were to be expelled and who became the centre of public and political debates in the Netherlands in 2010 and 2011.

The study is a result of the EU-funded project ACCEPT PLURALISM, Tolerance, Pluralism and Social Cohesion: Responding to the Challenges of the 21st Century in Europe.

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