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Belgian Website Solicits Reports of Illegal Immigrants

Belgian Website Solicits Reports of Illegal Immigrants

The Flemish Interest Party, a far-right Belgian political party, has set up a website for people to report illegal immigrants who work on the black market or are said to be abusing Belgium’s social security system. The purpose of the “Hotline Illegality” website is to curb illegal immigration, says Filip Dewinter of the Flemish Interest Party, which is notorious for its anti-Islam and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Anti-racism activists have condemned the website and say its tactics are comparable to those of the Nazis, says Agence France-Presse (via The Vancouver Sun).

Dewinter, who has accused the Belgian government of not doing enough to curb illegal immigration, says that acts reported on the website will be passed onto the police.

Jozef De Witte, director of the Centre for Equality and Struggle Against Racism, told Radio 1 that the Flemish website is “illegal” and that  it “was reminiscent of measures taken by the Nazis in the 1930s or the East German secret police during the Cold War.” Immigrants comprise about 9 percent of Belgian’s population with the majority from Morocco and Turkey, says the International Organization for Migration.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch Freedom Party had set up a similar website, “Report Middle and Eastern Europeans,” to track illegal immigrants by having people report if they had been “annoyed by noise, drunkenness or squalor associated with migrant workers or lost jobs to them. The website set off an “international outcry,” says the Los Angeles Times, and has been condemned as “deplorable” by the European Parliament. Last week, the Dutch Parliament voted to condemn the website but Prime Minister Mark Rutte, despite being encouraged by the European Parliament, has declined to condemn it. Agence France-Presse points out that he relies on support from the Dutch Freedom Party to maintain his majority in the Netherlands’ 150-seat lower house.

Olivier Bailly, aspokesman for the European Union, said that such websites “do not correspond to the values that we defend.” But rather than offering a unified statement about such websites’ xenophobic message, the executive branch of the EU has left it to national governments to decide whether to take action against the sites.

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Photo of a demonstration in Belgium with sign reading "I have no papers but I have hope" by _Skender_

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2:05PM PST on Jan 7, 2013

Not patting whistle-blowers on the back - but it's a deplorable situation when illegal immigrants/boat people/asylum seekers are treated better than resident rate-payers.

1:17PM PDT on Apr 26, 2012

I am sad to see all these politely racist comments from Care2 members. It just goes to show how little compassion there's left in the world and how easy it is for people to forget that immigrants are also human beings, taking a shot at a better life.

I live in Athens, Greece. My country has been made rather infamous lately, for all the wrong reasons -- but that's another story. In this time of economic hardship, there is a significant rise of far right "political" voices, who demand that immigrants are either sent back to their countries or are locked up in "hospitality" (read: concentration) camps. The snake's egg is easily hatched in a society where people are unemployed and afraid of the future -- and this reality repulses, sickens and scares me.

I am a medical doctor, I work at a public hospital. We get lots of immigrants, mostly young Pakistani men, but also elder Albanians, Romanians and Roma. Some of them are legal, insured. But there are also many who have no papers, no insurance, no nothing. What do you people reckon I should do with a person who needs medical attention, but is "illegal"? Do I let them suffer and die by the side of the street, as is the health system in the US?

I gave an oath upon my graduation. I intend to keep it.

9:30AM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

A global problem, no less

5:44AM PDT on Apr 12, 2012

Thanks for the article.

1:19PM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

@Anne M.: I agree with you about not inciting anger and/or racial hatred towards immigrants, but you have to understand that people, even in good economic times are often bitter about the whole idea of illegals.

@Berny P.: Is this true? I haven't really heard anything about Belgium lately. Also, is Geert Wilders party based there or is he Dutch?

11:05AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

Thanks for the info.

9:36AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

But rather than offering a unified statement about such websites’ xenophobic message, the executive branch of the EU has left it to national governments to decide whether to take action against the sites....
and so it should...each country should be able to decide who they want in their country!

9:24AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012


8:33AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

Belgium is a small country and is most concerned about its problems.

7:56AM PDT on Apr 11, 2012

We need a web site like this in the USA. Illegals are everywhere mooching off of the government. Now the politicians want to let them vote, or at least the Republicans do. They are giving them a US drivers license in Arizona. The American Dream is now for Illegals only. The police will not do any thing about Them.

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