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Tensions between migration law actors and child protection law actors in cases of children without legal residence in the Netherlands

Date:19 SEP 2022
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Iris Sportel, Assistant Professor in Sociology of Law and Migration Law, Centre for Migration Law/Institute for Sociology of Law, Radboud University Nijmegen
Ellen Nissen, Centre for Migration Law/Institute for Sociology of Law, Radboud University Nijmegen

Keywords: Conflicts between state authorities – Child protection order in migration law – Children and families without legal residence – Best interest of the child in migration law

In 2018, the intended deportation of two Armenian children who had been in the Netherlands for over a decade but never managed to gain legal residence led to wide-spread protests. The children were supposed to be deported to Armenia, but their mother – who had been deported earlier – seemed neither able nor willing to take care of them due to mental health issues. Their situation sparked intense social and political debates and led to a number of policy changes in Dutch migration law.

In this paper, we will analyse where and how tensions arise between migration law actors and child protection law actors regarding the situation of children and families without legal residence in the Netherlands. We will argue that fundamental differences between Dutch child protection law and migration law can lead to unequal treatment of different categories of vulnerable children as well as to tensions, frustrations, and distrust between migration authorities and child protection authorities. The paper is based on a combination of legal and empirical research, including interviews with child protection and migration authorities, judges, and lawyers as well as an analysis of case law.

 

 


This article has been accepted for publication in Child and Family Law Quarterly in Issue 6, Vol 34, Year 2022. 


 

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