After the European Court of Human Rights intervened in 2008 Belgium stopped locking up families who refuse to leave the country ahead of their removal. So called 'return homes' were kitted out. Residents were able to come and go as they wished but this meant that many disappeared into illegality. As a result the Belgian government decided on a U-turn and to return to the earlier policy of housing recalcitrant migrant families who had been ordered to leave in closed centres.
Asylum secretary Francken also hopes to use the accommodation to house families stopped on the border who form a danger to national security. In the event of an influx of certain nationalities families may also be accommodated in the closed centre housing.
Refugee welfare organisations have castigated the idea of locking up children as this has "an intrusive negative impact on health, development and well-being of children, even if the detention is of short duration and under relatively humane conditions”.