The lower house of the Dutch Parliament has voted to expel up to 26,000 failed asylum seekers. Once one of Europe's most tolerant countries, the Netherlands has veered rightward, thanks in part to the 2002 anti-immigration campaign of Pim Fortuyn, the populist leader who was assassinated. The upper house still has to approve the measures, which include placing asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected in detention centers until they leave voluntarily or are forcibly repatriated.
The Netherlands vote comes amid fears that Europe will be swamped by job seekers from the 10 new countries that are joining the European Union on May 1. Most existing EU member nations plan to restrict the rights of immigrants from accession countries to work or collect benefits. EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady