Theo Francken: "At the minute there are too few places in closed centres. Revolving door criminality is rampant. Take Leuven, the city is plagued by undocumented pick-pockets. When the police apprehend an illegal, they have to let him go because there is no room at the Immigration Department. Criminal illegals are ordered to leave our territory voluntarily within 30 days, but following his arrest we cannot detain this person. This creates a lot of frustration and impunity. We want to break this vicious circle."
"The Netherlands has 2,000 places in closed asylum centres. We barely have 600. Capacity can be increased without the need to build a new centre. That is for the long-term."
The new Asylum and Migration Secretary, Theo Francken, has plans for a new Immigration Law: "My predecessor Maggie De Block didn't get round to it. The present law is a Belgian construction with many rooms. You can take a lot of action before an expulsion actually occurs. This should be curtailed. I don't simply want to make things easier. I want to establish a clearer policy that offers legal guarantees. If the answer is no, it's no. If it's yes, then you are welcome."
"We should be able to tackle undocumented people who commit a crime more quickly and in a far more effective manner. This is my priority. We're not talking about repatriating integrated migrants in bottle-neck professions. We don't want to forcibly expel everybody. Voluntarily if possible, forcibly if need be."
The Flemish nationalist politician wants to reopen the way for families with children that are minors that don't possess the right paperwork to be detained at the 127bis closed asylum centre at Steenokkerzeel.
Theo Francken: "We're talking about families that want to abscond from their forced repatriation by disappearing into illegality."