PHILIPSBURG--A judge in the Court of First Instance on Friday last ordered the immediate release of an undocumented man. The man was married to a now deceased Dutch woman with whom he fathered a child with Dutch nationality.
Attorney Remco Stomp said that the court ruled that the apprehension and detention of the undocumented man had been “illegal” for various reasons.
According to Stomp, the court ruled that Justice Minister Dennis Richardson “could not lock up people merely because they are undocumented.”
The court also ruled that even if there would be reason to detain an undocumented individual the circumstances under which the individual was incarcerated had been in breach of the law.
The person was detained by immigration officials after they received a call from “a local resident” that the man was residing at a particular address and was not in possession of residency documents. “Shortly after the call immigration officials rang the bell at the address where the man resided and the man was ordered to follow the officials with the strict instruction not to protest or to ask any questions,” Stomp said.
“The family of the man was instructed to immediately hand over his passport and a one way ticket to his country of birth. After it became clear that the Immigration Department did not want to release the man, his family looked for legal assistance and contacted Attorney Remco Stomp. Meanwhile the man already had spent almost two weeks on the floor of a local police cell.”
The man, who was married to a local Dutch national for many years, became a widow last year when his wife passed away due to illness, Stomp said. He remained behind with their daughter who is of Dutch nationality.
The man, who hails from Dominica, could have received the Dutch nationality many years ago, but for some reason this never materialised, Stomp noted. This man had been staying at a friend’s house when he was “attacked” by a local resident with a machete.
“The friend managed to keep the attacker out of the door and called the police. When the police arrived the attacker had already left the scene. After the friend explained the situation, the police left. The attacker, however, whose identity and whereabouts are well known, was not arrested. Shortly after the police left, two officials from the Immigration Department rang the bell and summoned the man to follow, telling him not to speak or ask any questions.”
Stomp said on behalf of his client, he filed an immediate injunction against the decision to detain him and requested his client’s immediate release and the judge ruled accordingly.