THE ACTUAL POLITICAL TRICK ABOUT THE SANS PAPIERS

[ Ce post sera bientôt traduit en français et complété d’une conclusion fondée sur le concept d’état d’exception d’Agamben.]

What happened ’til now

1. 18 march 2008, after a difficult governement formation, this one finally makes the governement agreement about what will be done during this mandate. This agreement contains a « Circulaire Ministérielle » that should legalize fixed criters about the sans papiers régularization. For a long time, association, organization and sans papiers are criticizing the arbitrary power of the Office des Etrangers.

2. One year later, this circulaire is still not applied. Some socials movements had begun to appear and are getting more serious when they all started to occupate the belgian universities and high school, on approximately february 2009 (a dozen of schools including the biggest universities : KUL, ULB, UCL).

3. The policital inactivity leads to hunger strikes. These strikes started one by one in all the universities occupated.

4. The asylum and immigration Minister Turtleboom finally announce a « mini-circulaire », proceeding to the regularization of families (approximately 1500 files) and conditioning it to a « no ask to social aid ». This last condition isn’t legal (and will not be applied), but the mention in the mini-circulaire shows in what we are. Deceived, sans papiers are continuing to start hunger strikes.

5. Turtleboom announce a new circulaire but not about regularization : this one’s concerning identification practices for local police to facilitate expulsions. It’s hardly criticized by Human Rights League and a lot of politics because it’s restricting private life (of avec ou sans papiers). The minister announce that she will not write any circulaire about fixed criters.

6. After the regional elections, the governement changes. The asylum and immigration goes to the Wathelet, french catholic, and Turtleboom (flemish liberal) is « promoted » to Ministère de l’intérieur : interior security.

7. Wathelet (immigration) annouce temporary fixed criters (they’re fixed, but in time too) : sans papiers can introduce files starting 15 september till 15 december 2009. All files introduced during this period will be treated with the temporary fixed criters. Theses criters will no more be effective after that. Theses criters are not called « circulaire » but « instructions ». They have no formal existence in Belgium law.

8. During this time, Turtleboom announce 2 circulaires : one to fight the fake domiciliations (domiciliations in belgium is the key to all administratives procedures), another to prevent « religious and political radicalization » (isn’t this freaky ? Are university occupations a type of political radicalization ?). Fighting fake domiciliations means fight against people in a state of precarity : in Belgium, the fact of being domiciliated with some one can radically level down your social aid (single minimum unemployement allocation = 820€, colocation = 430€).

What’s happening right now

9. An appeal was introduced by the Vlaams Belang to the Conseil d’état (State Council). They pretended that the instructions are not a Minister competence, but a Parlement’s one. That is totally true, and so has concluded the State Council. So, the regularization is considered illegal and the Council calls to the establishment of a parlementary law. (same shit happening in France about a regularization for workers sans papiers, announced by the minister).

10. Wathelet answers to that the instructions will still be applied. He will apply his « pouvoir discrétionnaire », the arbitrary notion that allow the minister (and the Office des Etrangers) to make a decision on individual files.

Conclusion : Where’s the trick ?

The final response of Whatelet leads this regularization to an absurd conclusion. The arbitrary notion is just what the social movement following the 18 march 2008 criticized. The actual political response is totally the opposite of the original claims. It has actually turned as « the only hope » for people who has been given hope (the one concerned by the temporary fixed criters).

Not only the criters still not exist (they just expired today), but their temporary applications is the result of what sans papiers are fighting against.

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