Last July, the government of Belgium announced a collective amnesty for
illegal aliens. It is Belgium’s second general amnesty in barely a decade. When
the previous one was approved by the Belgian Parliament in 1999, the government
promised Parliament that it would be the final one and that henceforward people
who entered the country illegally would be sent back. Nevertheless, there has
been no crack-down on illegal immigration in the past ten years and hardly any
illegal aliens have been sent back.
Last July, immediately after the parliamentary recess had begun, the
government of Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy decided there should be a new
amnesty to “regularize” illegal aliens who can demonstrate that they have “integrated
sufficiently” into the country, e.g. by having children at school. The
government took the decision unilaterally, without approval from the
Parliament. This is against the law; the Belgian government cannot unilaterally
grant a collective amnesty. Only Parliament has the power to do so.
The parties of Van Rompuy’s government coalition shrugged their
shoulders. They refused to react against the usurpation of parliamentary powers
because they did not want to open a public debate about immigration. Polls
indicate that the overwhelming majority of the Belgians opposes the new round
of regularizations. The Vlaams Belang, Belgium’s main opposition party,
however, went to court. It requested the Council of State, Belgium’s highest
administrative court, to annul the amnesty – which it did on December 11.
The government’s reaction to the annulment is astonishing. It announced
that the court ruling would make no difference and that the illegal aliens need
not worry. Mr. Melchior Wathelet, the Secretary of State for Immigration, said
that, instead of collectively regularizing the 50,000 illegal aliens with one
single signature, he will sign 50,000 individual regulations, granting each of
them an individual amnesty.
Consequently, the 2009 amnesty will be Herman Van Rompuy’s farewell gift
to the Belgians. Mr. Van Rompuy has meanwhile been appointed President of
Europe, with an income higher than Mr. Obama’s, while the Belgians are left to
foot the bill for thousands of new welfare recipients. Last September, a civil
servant of Belgium’s Federal Agency for Aliens, warned: “This amnesty is
madness. Our agency expects that one in every three is going to apply for
welfare benefits.” Indeed, more than half of the aliens who were regularized in
1999-2000 received benefits as a result. The head of the Antwerp welfare
department says that many of them are still on welfare ten years later; she
expects the same to happen with those who are being regularized today.
Nevertheless, despite the court’s objections and despite the opposition
of the people, the illegal aliens will be regularized. In three years’ time,
the regularized aliens will be allowed to apply for Belgian citizenship.
Meanwhile, figures indicate that half of the illegal aliens who have applied
for regularization in the past months are Moroccans, while Moroccans already
make up the largest group of immigrants in Belgium and many of them engage in
criminal activities and refuse to integrate into Belgian society.
Conspiracy theorists can easily explain the conduct of the Belgian
government. They will say it is an attempt to replace the Belgians by another
population. For those who do not believe in this theory, it is harder to
explain why Mr. Van Rompuy declared an amnesty which he knew to be unpopular,
which will drain the Belgian welfare budget and which is, moreover, unlawful
because the government usurped the prerogatives of Parliament. For those who do
not believe in the population replacement theory, it is hard to explain why the
Belgian government, despite a court ruling, stubbornly sticks to its decision.
For those who do not believe in a conspiracy theory, it is equally hard
to explain why on 15 December, George Papandreou, the Prime Minister of Greece,
announced that one of the measures to reduce his country’s crushing budget
deficit will be to “bring illegal immigrants into the social security system.”
It is true that some illegal aliens work in the country illegally and do not
pay taxes and contributions, but it is equally true that many others do not and
will, if “brought into the system,” be net consumers rather than net
Those who do not believe that Europe’s ruling establishment has engaged
in a conspiracy against it own people will also have a hard time explaining the
recent decision of the appeals chamber of the Bar Association’s disciplinary
council in the Netherlands. On 12 December, it acquitted a Muslim lawyer of
contempt of court. The Muslim lawyer, who wears a Muslim head covering during
court sessions, refuses to rise when the judge enters the courtroom. He says
that his religion maintains that everyone is equal and that, hence, he cannot
rise for the judge. Though everyone is equal, however, the same lawyer refuses
to shake hands with women. Nevertheless, the Muslim lawyer is getting away with
behavior which the ruling establishment would not tolerate from indigenous
Dutch lawyers, and, more importantly, which the majority of the Dutch people
does not wish to tolerate from newcomers.
Europe’s ruling establishment is currently engaged in policies which go
so radically against what ordinary Europeans want that a dangerous rift is
growing between the people and those who govern them. If this situation is not
remedied, Europe’s governments risk losing their legitimacy in the eyes of the
people. One does not need to be a conspiracy theorist to realize that this can
only contribute to the potential for a revolutionary explosion of violence and
anger somewhere down the road.