Jacob (13), fled, confused by all the support to stay in the Netherlands

Jacob (he does not want to give his last name) looks a bit embarrassed when he walks into his secondary school in Ubbergen on Wednesday morning and there the life-size text ‘Jacob stays here. Tina also lingers.

“I don’t really like attention that much. But I do like that it makes so much noise and that it only gets good reactions. Because I think it will seriously help ”, he responds.

Bomb kills Jacob’s boyfriend

Jacob and his mother Tina are from war-torn Syria. Five years ago, Tina was full when a bomb exploded at Jacob’s school, injuring her son and dying one of his friends on the spot. She wants to go to Europe, but does not dare to go by sea. “My mother wanted to get me out of the country safely. But not by boat across the sea ”, Jacob explains.

Because Tina’s ancestors stayed in Armenia at the beginning of the last century, she tries to get a visa for Europe via an Armenian passport. She had been told that this was possible and in this way she tried to avoid crossing the sea in a rickety boat. But in vain. Ultimately, Tina and her son go in a boat to Europe.

Strict IND policy

The two end up in Kamp Heumensoord near Nijmegen where they meet journalist Kees van den Bosch, who helps them along with others. Van den Bosch takes them in for three months, after which they find a flat. With the support of the journalist’s network of The Green Amsterdammer and the Food Bank they can get by. Jacob is now doing well at school and is in first class of HAVO.

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Van den Bosch spoke on behalf of mother and son: “The policy of the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service, ed.) Is very strict. If there is a legal possibility to refuse refugees, then they will. Her mother, grandmother and two uncles are now Dutch, but the IND is not looking at that. ”

Glimmer of hope

The IND sees the possibility of refusing Tina and Jacob now that Tina has applied for a passport in Armenia. Although she has long since renounced this, the IND believes that mother and son should go to Armenia.

From a legal point of view, there is still a ray of hope, says Van den Bosch: “They are waiting for the final decision of the IND in about ten days. Their lawyer argues that they were part of a group of about a hundred Armenian Syrians who fled to the Netherlands. And most of them got a residence permit because they had fled the war in their country. ”

I don’t know anyone there, I’ve never been there

For Jacob, deportation to Armenia is a true specter. “I have no future there,” emphasizes the 13-year-old. “I don’t know anyone there, I’ve never been there. I’ve been here for five years. I have all my activities here, I am on breakdance, I am taking guitar lessons, I am here at school, havo. So here is just my future. ”

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Classmates want him to stay

And so his classmates think about it. He is a very nice guy, very social, says Ghazal Hakimi. Yenthe Leeverink only recently found out that Jacob was not born here. “I always thought it was just a Dutch boy, that’s how he pretends to be.” Neo van Rijn adds: “He is fluent in Dutch.” Ghazal adds: “And now he has to go to a country where he doesn’t know anyone, doesn’t even speak the language. That’s a bit strange.”

Yenthe herself would find it very difficult: “Especially because I don’t know the language and I don’t know what the culture is like there.” “He just belongs here, he’s just Dutch,” says Ghazal. Yenthe adds: “He feels at home here. This is basically his country.” Neo concludes: “I hope he gets a passport and can simply stay in the Netherlands.”

Support in the municipal council and the House of Representatives

All Nijmegen factions, with the exception of Nijmegen.NU and the VVD, support a statement that Jacob and his mother must stay here. “Jacob belongs here. With his mother Tina ”, they write. “That their Armenian background is now being used to deport them to a country where they have never been and of which they do not speak the language, we find unjust and inhumane.”

Questions about the issue have also been submitted in the House of Representatives. The discretionary power whereby the State Secretary can deviate from the policy has been abolished under Rutte III. Nevertheless, those involved, such as program maker Sinan Can, think that just now that new formation negotiations are coming up, there is still a ray of hope for Jacob.

And Jacob himself? He tries not to think of the specter of Armenia and is doing his best in first class of HAVO. Because there is even a chance that he can go to VWO. At least if he can stay here.

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