Chapter 1, control, made to measure

Chapter 2, administrative apartheid

Chapter 3,Mobil Surveillance of Foreigners

Chapter 4, Own people, first or last?

Chapter 5, Exclusion as an ideological instrument

Chapter 6, And technology, it grew on ...

Mobil Surveillance of Foreigners

The border which, according to the Europe of the citizen, should be open, is closed for a specific group of people. Since the sec- ond of May 1994 hundred thousands of people are yearly confronted with a border control. How these people are selected remains unclear, that there is a selection is clear though. The control determines if you get access to the Netherlands. You have just met the Mobil Surveillance Foreigners (MTV).

How do the MTV squads work?

The MTV operates behind and along the whole border, in interna- tional trains, on motorways, roads and in harbours. Each MTV-team checks motorways mainly near a main border post but also on bor- dercrossings in the proximity. Next to that the MTV-teams comb out the international trains that enter the Netherlands daily. The controls are done on the basis of a random test on the spot. Total border control is not the issue, after all: there is free movement of persons and goods. Checks are executed as soon as people who cross the border, have passed, so that formally it is proven that someone has actually crossed the border. This is important when illegals are found. There are three sorts of border controls by MTV-teams: in international trains and busses, on roads and in sea harbours.

* MTV in trains

The teams checking the international trains are made up by mare- chaussee's (military police), who are taken over the border by car, into Germany or Belgium, to a train station. There they get on the train, usually at the rear end. Then they go through the train. Sometimes they check everybody on the train, but usually they check specific passengers, for identity papers. In fact, it is not a passport control, since they have been abolished. It is a selective passport control. If the MTV should encounter a person who can not produce a valid identity paper, these are usually taken out of the train at the first station behind the border (Arnhem, Maastricht, Venlo, Breda, Roosendaal, Terneuzen). At the railway station the MTV has got its own checkpoint, there they do the first control on personal information.
After the control the MTV-team is taken from the station to the border control post at the motorway, to do checks there. In one day only a number of international trains are checked. The MTV- teams work in shifts. The control by the MTV, in the international trains from Germany, starts directly after the train has left the station of Emmerich, so in fact before the train has crossed the border instead of behind it. According to the Marechaussee the distance between Emmerich and Arnhem is so short, that controls have to start on German territory, to be effective.

* MTV on the road

The teams checking the motorways consist of two officers on motor- bikes who carry out the first selection prior to the control. They drive behind the car they want to be checked and stop them at the parking place where the MTV-post is set up, existing out of a bigger and a smaller bus. The motorised officers go back to their spot along the motorway, to select the next vehicle. The control of identity-papers takes place by other MTV-officers, who contact the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) from the bus, to see if the person is registered in the Administration System (- VAS?) and the National Schengen Information System (NSIS). They also have a link with Schiphol, through a wireless mobil computer. This is to find out if the person concerned is registered in the Tracing Register (OPS). In the MTV-bus different equipment for control is available: fax, mobil phone, xerox machine, laptop computer, handbooks with an up-dated tracing register etc. All occupants of the car are checked, including their luggage. If the identity papers are in order, you can go, unless the MTV finds and registers something else, for example a driving licence out of date or that there is no insurance on the car. If the identity papers are not in order then the person is taken into an office at the parking-place where s/he is questioned and photo's and finger- prints are taken. The information is then stored in NSIS.

* MTV in sea harbours

Through sea harbours like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and IJmuiden, stow- aways arrive on board of ships, even though the area is under strict control. The MTV patrols along different zones. Control often takes place outside the harbour, at sea. A fine is set on transporting stowaways, a similar sanction as airplane companies get if they transport people without documents. With ships the fine is 2500 guilders. The chance that a ship is 'chained' for further investigation is high and scares captains. The MTV also execute random controls in the harbour itself, for border crossing and other documents, at the bridge of the ship or in the captains quarters. Stowaways that are found have to stay on board or are expulsed by plane, if they do not apply for asylum.

Criteria of selection

Criteria for selection and apprehension are not strict, but are, for example, the appearance of the car and the occupants. The bad state of the car, or if it is very expensive, the licence plate, the way of driving, an 'overloaded' van, a number of cars appar- ently driving in column, 'with lots of luggage and occupants'. According to the MTV they are refugees or illegal families trying to cross the border.
Controls on the basis of the Foreigners Bill, like the ones at the border, theoretically concern everyone, in practice the MTV select on the basis of a 'reasonable suspicion', whatever that may be. The term is not explained any further. The Ministry of Justice claims that the Marechaussee, who select and control, do so with insight and experience. The moment of selection is so quick though, that questions can be asked about the carefulness and possible prejudice. The Marechausse itself admits that they mostly select on appearance and colour of skin. The MTV in practice chooses people who are black. The Marechausse claim their officers on motorbikes are perfectly able to spot illegal border crossers. But can be seen from someone's appearance or licenceplate that they are illegal? The Netherlands are a multi-coloured, multi-cul- tural immigration country, that attracts a lot of tourists and therefor has a lot of multi-coloured bordertraffic. Statistics of the Marechaussee show that 97% of those controlled can go on after the control, because there is no problem. They have been unjustly selected, and that is what the Marechaussee calls 'insight and experience'.


Usually the papers of those controlled are in order and they can continue. Often they are coloured/black people who are Dutch, have been naturalised or have a residence permit. When people do not have papers or the papers are not in order, false, falsified or not valid as a document for crossing the border, then photo's and fingerprints are taken. Also registered is personal information like: name, date of birth, country of origin, status in the Neth- erlands or outside and when relevant: country of passage, country of prior residence, antecedents and other personal information. These are registered and compared with information in the computer of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), the (N)SIS and the Tracing Register (OPS). When unknown, these personal data are stored in the central computer system, the Schengen Informa- tion System (SIS). Papers are checked for authenticity with fraud- checking equipment (retro-check), when the MTV suspects that they might be false or have been falsified. The proces-verbal made in case of illegal crossing of the border or when carrying a false document is also registered.

Illegal crossing of the border

When illegal border-crossers are registrated, the next step can be that the existing procedures, as in the agreements of return and adoption, are followed. The person is then transferred to the authorities of the neighbouring country or a person gets the order to turn back and return on their own means. When there is more time available for a further investigation into the identity, the person in question can be transferred to the regional police. They are then detained in a police cell. This form of detention can last up to ten days, after which the person has to be transferred to a prison for illegal foreigners. Detention can then take months, there is no maximum time limit. When expressedly applying for asylum, which sporadically happens according to the statistics in the year reports of '94 and '95 of the Marechaussee1, the person is transferred to the IND in an Application Centre (AC). The right to asylum is not under the jurisdiction of the MTV. It is imposs- ible to control if the MTV actively points out the right to an asylum request, and if they are willing to hear the word "asiel". The history of the Marechausse on Schiphol shows that this was not always the case.2

MTV systems

The Marechausse is a link in the execution of the Foreigners Bill. They have a task of guarding the borders at the main entrypoints at the air- and sea-ports, at the outer border of Schengen. Besides that the Marechaussee works at the eastern and southern border of the Netherlands. They also work together with the Immi- gration and Naturalisation Service (IND) at the expulsion of asy- lum-seekers whose procedure has ended and illegal foreigners. Because of this, the Marechaussee is present at the Application Centre's (AC's), which were set up for a fast processing of the asylum applications. The MTV uses, since '94, MOBILIST, the Mobil National Information System. In '96 this automated process has grown further. Not only can the Tracing System (OPS) and (N)SIS be consulted but there is also the possibility to check if someone is wanted for a felony, in the Central Reference Index of the Recog- nition System (HKS). Moreover the files of the State Service for Roadtraffic (RDW) and the Central Driving Licence Register (CRR) are directly accessible by the MTV. To be able to execute the Schengen agreements a start has been made to make modifications and apply different functions in the Project Automating Schiphol (PAS), to be able to support all activities in an automated way. These Schengen agreements also compel to link the PAS and the (N)SIS.

Policy of the MTV

The MTV has been instated to counter immigration in an early stage. Kosto, the former under-secretary of the Ministry of Jus- tice, reported soon after the start of the MTV, that these flying borderpatrols had a diminishing effect on the number of asylum- seekers. His colleague Nawijn, then head of the IND, attributed this decline fully to the intensified border control. Initially the Marechaussee's used for the MTV were deployed from Schiphol. By physically separating Schengen and non-Schengen passengers the airport would need less personnel to control. Because this separ- ation was delayed, the MTV started with less people then original- ly planned, 200 instead of 473. A part of the 273 missing stayed at Schiphol to check 'manually'. From the start of '96 the separ- ation is in working order and the MTV is complete. This means that the control activities are in principal taking place 24 hours a day.
The MTV is one of the extra measures in the foreigners policy to "..make the explosive rise in influx of asylum-seekers control- lable again, to intensify the internal surveillance of foreigners and to increase the capacity of expulsion." (under-secretary Kosto in his letter to parliament, on june 7th 1994, in reference to a decision of the second chamber of parliament to instate the MTV.)3 The idea of the MTV stems from 1993, a year in which 36,000 asy- lum-seekers came to the Netherlands, of which 6,000 came through Schiphol, the rest came through the eastern and southern borders of the country. The Ministry of Justice thought that there was an 'irregular influx' because of the omittance of the border control (through the Benelux and Schengen treaties). They wanted to counter this irregular influx in an early stage. Besides this the Ministry of Justice spoke of an increased stream of illegals, which they wanted to reverse.
The security of the Schengen outerborders has been sharpened in accordance with the motto of 'open internal borders'. The 'open borders' have led to an increased control at the outer borders since the implementation of the Schengen agreements. Selective control at the internal border is an attempt not only to thwart illegal but also legal entry. Potential asylum-seekers have to be kept outside.

Foreigners circulaire

The Foreigners circulaire (Vc) of 1994, supplemented with further proceedings, and the border circulaire, both have guidelines about the border(area) control. Within these, the margins of the inter- nal surveillance of foreigners within the border area's are defined: 'Surveillance to counter illegal immigration is surveil- lance directed to counter illegal residence by illegal immigra- tion, organised or not, in an as early as possible stage; this surveillance is directed to prevention and discouragement of future illegal immigration.'4 The selectively reintroduced border control is apparently also directed to another goal: 'controls on people travelling into the country also produce indications to the extent of which a route is used for illegal immigration.'4 The Vc 1994 further states, under the heading of 'further directions': 'All persons, Dutch and non-Dutch, of whom can be assumed that they are border-crossers, can be subjected to this form of sur- veillance of foreigners. Concrete indications of illegal resi- dence, are not necessary in this form of surveillance.'4 This means that the Foreigners Bill (Vw), in certain extent, applies to ev- eryone. In the magazine Migrantenrecht of september '95 doubt is cast on if this form of surveillance of foreigners by which every- one who crosses the border can be controlled, is valid with the Foreigners Bill itself and the Vc.5 The Vc 1994 continues its mar- gins and directions: 'A good insight in traffic, both on motorways and secondary roads as with international traintraffic, is an essential condition for an effective policy of control. This insight can be obtained by observation of traffic and analysis of the data obtained by observation.'


Some time after the start of the flying squads of the MTV, the Commander of the MTV-squad Heerlen stated the following: 'Of course the MTV has a preventive effect and the number of illegal immigrants on the currently known routes will decrease. But as long as the honeyjar is filled, from far away and nearer places, people will keep on streaming to the Netherlands and try to find new routes, again and again. You will only score a hundred percent when you close the whole border off with a wall.'6 Highest priority of the MTV is to avert asylum-seekers. Sergeant-major Gloudemans, coordinator of the MTV Breda: 'Priority number one is to dam in the stream of potential asylum-seekers and to apply a sort of pre- selection. In this we succeed pretty well. In the month of January for example, exactly one person qualified for asylum, while over '94 we only noted 42 asylum-seekers.'7

Capacity of expulsion

The MTV is not by itself as an instrument to counter illegal immi- gration. The internal surveillance of foreigners has also been intensified in other aspects. In 1994 the police forces got extra reinforcements to trace illegal immigrants and refugees whose procedures have ended. About the specific employment of the extra capacity for the surveillance of foreigners, the Ministry of Jus- tice and the directors of the police forces have made agreements. The existence of these agreements became known with the leaking of a letter of the management of the region Hollands-Midden (Middle of Holland, Leiden and surrounding). According to this letter, it was ..'agreed to increase the number of removals from 300 to about 550.' On february second 1995 questions were asked about these agreements in Parliament. Under-secretary Schmitz of the Ministry of Justice replied that no quota agreement existed and that a publication in the newspaper Trouw must be based on a misunder- standing. Schmitz called the extra money for the internal surveil- lance of foreigners a 'targeted benefit'. The agreements are based on '.. further executive agreement about the way in which the wanted intensification can be concretely organised. (..) These results will be judged in their mutual coherence and in combina- tion with the total amount of efforts taken in the field of inten- sification of surveillance of foreigners.' Schmitz states that there will be judged on the quota, but that there haven not been any hard agreements made. Shortly after this the director of the police in the Region Flevoland is much more honest, he states in Trouw of september first '958, that agreements have been made about the numbers, and that there are consequences for the budget when they do not reach the amount agreed. Raising the number of removals has thus become a question of making quota-agreements and realising the targeted number of removals, after which the results are judged by The Hague. Although the police forces have a certain freedom in spending the extra money (most of the forces have used it to extend the capacity for the implementation of the Foreigners Administration System (VAS)), concretely it has to lead to an increase in the number of expulsions.

Extending tracing

The decision to intensify the internal surveillance of foreigners was taken by the previous cabinet. Besides the earlier mentioned agreement, different tracing services have been extended, for example the Inspection Service Social Affairs and Labour (ISZW), the former Inspection Service Labour (DIA). Also the Bill on Iden- tification has come into working and measures have been taken to punish employers with illegals in their service more severely. The previously mentioned extension of personnel at the police forces also meant an extension of the number of (formation)places at the IND. On the twelfth of May 1995 in the IND district South-East 800 persons extra were deployed at the Southern forces and the IND. This effectively meant 118 extra jobs for the police forces. "An essential stipulation for the functioning of the foreigners ser- vices is a clear, just and credible acting of the government as a whole: illegal foreigners have to be removed from the Netherlands. (...) In the future criminal foreigners -both legal and illegal- and expulsion of illegals has the utmost priority in the South", according to Wilma Engelhart, head of the department Foreigners of the police in Brabant Zuid-oost, at the conclusion of the earlier mentioned agreement on the twelfth of May 1995. Thus the year 1996 will be, more than the previous years, centred towards the policy of expulsion.
This is all the more smarting since the Ministry of Justice pro- duces illegals itself and then expulses them. Because of restrict- ive policy a lot of the refugees get around the asylum procedure because it hardly gives them a chance. They are immediately illeg- al. Besides these the Ministry of Justice puts a lot of refugees on the street: they are dumped from the procedure. They are 'smo- ked out', made illegal. This particularly happens from the Recep- tion Centre's (AC's), Centre's for Asylum Seekers (AZC's), ROA- houses and from the prisons for illegals. Refugees then sometimes are told to leave the country immediately. They have nowhere to go and 'disappear' forcedly into illegality, with the Ministry know- ing.


In the neighbouring countries a form of mobil surveillance is in operation, too: in Germany the BundesGrenzschutz and in Belgium the Rijkswacht. They also operate behind the border and there is cooperation with the MTV with transfer(ence), return and take- over. In the Schengen Executive Agreement (SUO) arrangements have been fixed about the guarding of the outer borders of Schengen, like at Schiphol. Or like at the Oder-Neisse border between Ger- many and Poland, where, at night, the territory is also searched with infra-red camera's by the German and Polish border police. Many have drowned in this river, in their attempt to enter the Schengen territory. The same can be said about those who tried to cross the mediterranean outer border of Western Europe in little boats.

Repelling Immigration

In the summer of 1995 the MTV existed one year. At that moment 210 marechaussee's were active in the MTV. In the decision in 1993 it was expected to be 473, a capacity that was realised in january 1996. One of the problems judging the practice of the MTV is that there is hardly any other material available than that of the Ministry of Justice. The reliability of those figures is debatable and a framework for comparison is not available.
The year reports of '94 and '95 of the Marechausse expressedly speak of controls behind and along the border. " In this way when the removal of a foreigner is necessary, actual crossing of the border can be proved." In the year report of '95, it says that the control activities are in principle carried out 24 hours a day. This suggests that the border is really closed for immigrants. The random-test character of the control is mainly concentrated in the mobility of the teams, controls at changing border stations, and of course in the selectivity of stopping.
In '95 28,997,271 people entered the Netherlands in total, through the air- and sea-ports. Of those 11,499 were refused entry and 6,717 people were, temporarily or for a longer period, detained on the basis of refusal of entry. The MTV checked 594,470 people at the Southern and Eastern borders, 151,034 at the Belgian and 443,- 436 at the German border. Of this number something was not in order at 17,857 checks: 14,674 illegal border crossers, 986 asylum applications and 2,197 transfers to the regional police. It becomes clear from these figures that the majority did not want to apply for asylum. Apparently they wanted to stay with family mem- bers or try to attend in their living by working. Within this category are also included, the people who thought that there were really no more border controls, and were allowed to go home and pick up their passports. With the applications for asylum is noth- ing wrong in principle, even the agreements of Schengen have the possibility of asking for protection in a second country. The transfers to the regional police have not been specified, it is unclear why these people were transferred. It is clear that the Marechaussee, who renown themselves for their experience at con- trols, could have omitted 97% of the checks, since everything was in order, even according to themselves. Only this shows that there is something wrong with the criteria for selection. The opening of borders and at the same time closing them is a sort of administra- tive apartheid.


1 Statistics from the year reports of the Marechausse of 1994 and 1995.
2 'Geweigerd op Schiphol', research of Vluchtelingenwerk into the policy of the Marechausse regarding requesting asylum at Schiphol, september 1992. Period of research was from may '91 to june '92.
3 Letter of Under-secretary Kosto to the Second Chamber of parlia- ment, 07-06-'94.
4 Passages from the Vreemdelingencirculaire 1994. Appendix II with letter Kosto, 07-06-'94.
5 see Migrantenrecht 1995, no. 8, p. 187.
6 Commander captain A.W. van Varik in 'Ons Wapen', 1994, magazine KMAR (Marechausse).
7 Defensiekrant, newspaper for the armed forces, dat 30-03-1995.
8 Trouw, date 01-09-1995.
9 Wilma Engelhart, head department Foreigners Police South-east, at the closing of the agreement between the IND and the police forces, dated 12-05-1995, from Politie Magazine, fourth year, june 1995, no.10.


An identity control by the flying squads of the MTV proves disas- trous for John. He is travelling by train to a friend in Germany. On his way back, when they are near Enschede, the MTV enters the train. The Marechaussee's are uniformed, but do not show any iden- tification. John is the only one in the compartment to be checked. He can not show any valid identity papers. A reduction abonnement of the Dutch rail company is of no avail. John is taken to an office in the station and later taken to the police station Ensch- ede, where he will stay in a cell that week. His girlfriend and daughter can visit him once. They are separated from him by a glass wall. Research is conducted into his identity, his girl- friend is also questioned at her house. This research produces no more than was already known about John from the computer. He is transferred to the prison for illegal foreigners Willem II in Tilburg. There he is held for five months and is put in the isola- tion cell for two weeks once, because out of desperation, he tries to commit suicide. The Ministry of Justice can not expulse him and puts him on the street. On his entry in the Netherlands as an asy- lum seeker, John was also dumped on the street, after months of detention in the 'grenshospitium' in Amsterdam. He is registered as technically non-expulsable. This also showed up when he was arrested in the subway for not having a ticket, for lack of money. Still, this third time he is imprisoned, and chances are that he will be imprisoned many more times.

Matty is checked on february twelfth '95 by the MTV, on his return to the Netherlands by car. He crosses the border together with another person, who has a definite residence permit in the Nether- lands and is therefor allowed to cross the border. Matty is taken out of the car and enters the merry-go-round of controls. The other person can continue. Matty is turned over to the regional police and kept in a police cell for ten days. After that he is kept for nearly seven and a half months in the illegals prison Willem II. After that he is transferred to the border-jail in Amsterdam. During the time Matty is imprisoned, the Ministry of Justice does hardly any investigation into his identity, while to the outside world they act as if they are working hard towards his expulsion. After nine months of foreigners detention, in which a lot of misery, loneliness and isolation, he is released immediate- ly, to return into illegality. He has won his fifth trial, in which his lawyer has demanded release from foreigners detention. The first four cases he had lost; every time the Ministry was given more time by the judge to keep him and investigate. Suddenly Matty is at the mercy of the streets again. He pretty much picks up his live again, but of course he has lost his job during this period of detention.

Eyenga gets on the train just behind the border in a train which comes from Belgium. Eyenga is taken by the MTV at a check in the train. He has bad luck, since he has left his papers at home, a ROA-house (asylum seekers preferential housing scheme). A request to pick them up is of no avail. Eyenga is taken for further con- trol. It seems that he shirked the obligation to report a couple of times, which means he did not report at the foreigners police for a stamp in time. This was because Eyenga was staying with his girlfriend, who lives very far away. After neglecting this obliga- tion a number of times, he was sanctioned. At this control this is used against him: Eyenga is a danger to the public order, because he failed to report a few times. The Ministry of Justice sees him as a person to potentially go into hiding. He is detained for nearly five months in the prison for illegals Willem II in Til- burg. In this time he is put in the isolation cell for the stan- dard term of two weeks, because he did not obey an order directly. From the jail he is dumped on the street, without any provision. From asylum seeker, Eyenga has now become an illegal.