Crackdown on the Streets of the Netherlands, Immigrants Fear Going to Supermarket

I was on my regular morning bike ride when I saw Pedro [not real name] walking down the main street on Ijburg -- a small, artificially-constructed island outside of Amsterdam -- and asked him in Spanish, "hey, bro, did your bike break down?"

He replied in his rustic Dominican Spanish, "no, I just need some food, but I'm too afraid of getting pulled over on my bike." 

NOS stream
The recent brutal stabbing of a police officer by a homeless individual has conveniently provided police the excuse they need to set up checkpoints outside of the supermarket. Since then, the five-block-wide island's immigrants have been subjected to home raids by the immigration police, while the local police often stand outside on the main street, pulling over immigrants at-will. In a manner more distressing than Arizona, local police in the country report directly to the foreign police.

Pedro was born in the Dominican Republic but has legal status in Italy, so he doesn't fear being deported to the Dominican Republic; he fears the embarrassment of 5 heavily-armed agents of the foreign police department barging into his home early in the morning, as is typically the case, and dragging him out in front of his neighbors. "I don't mind going back to Italy, I'm only here because my wife is Dutch and she recently gave birth to our baby. But even with a Dutch woman and a Dutch baby and a residence permit in another European Union country, I'm not allowed to remain in this country. I just want to get some food for my baby, she's been hungry since last night, but I couldn't get food because I didn't think it was a good idea to go out at night without a Dutch ID. My wife works on a farm in Zeeland, she doesn't make enough, I'm lucky my cousin lets us stay here."

Het Parool. 4, July 2015
Pedro's situation is not unique, and even people who were born in the Netherlands are too afraid to leave their homes. A recent report by Het Parool revealed that a large number of individuals born in this country are to be deported. Shery Rodriguez Galeano (22,) and Andrea Rodriguez Galeano (20) were both born in the Netherlands. They grew up in the Netherlands and graduated from high school in the country. The government has, nonetheless, dictated that they must be outcast to Colombia, a country which they have never visited. It was argued that they did not have "enough roots" in the Netherlands.

The Rodriguez-Galeano family is just one of many in the Netherlands living in a state of uncertainty, not knowing when will come the last day in the only country they've known as home. 

I got off my bike and walked a bit with Pedro after he told me about his baby; I congratulated him. I asked him if the situation was that serious. He replied: "I want to provide a good life for my baby, it may be the smartest decision for my woman and I to move to the Dominican Republic, Italy is full of workless [sic] people, and they won't let me work here [in Holland] to provide for my baby. One of my friends was recently punched by the police on the face here. There was nothing he could say, he doesn't speak the language and it's his word against 5 cops. He's getting deported right now!"

Mitch Henriquez
Though the home of the International Criminal Court [ICC] was once known as the most liberal and progressive place in the world, the rise of right-wing parties -- primarily the PVV, headed by Geert Wilders -- has led to a crackdown on immigrants in the country. Just recently, parts of The Hague, the very place where the ICC is located, were overcome with riots following the death of Mitch Henriquez, an Aruban man on vacation.

Statements made by police directly contradicted amateur video of Henriquez' arrest, showing that they lied about the brutal treatment he endured. Police falsified statements, claiming that Henriquez became ill inside of the police car while en route to the police station, at which point they decided to administer CPR. The 5 officers in the case are currently being investigated as suspects in his death.

After video contradicting police statements was revealed, massive protests broke out throughout the Netherlands. If you consider the fact that Mitch Henriquez is Afro-Caribbean and that most of those arrested for protesting were Moroccan, and that most of the arrests were concentrated in Schilderwijk -- the neighborhood in The Hague largely populated by Moroccans and thus subjected to the most brutal and strict police tactics -- then you will understand the racist policies that lead to Moroccans being the ones most likely to be incarcerated or brutalized by the police in the Netherlands. 

Due to the fact that the Dominican Republic is host to one the most racially diverse populations in the world, with many prominent individuals being of Lebanese, African, and European descent, Dominicans could be confused for Moroccan and thus should take precaution because they could be subjected to the same brutal police tactics reserved for Muslim terrorism suspects.