Each year the Dutch authorities categorize scores of people as being “out
of procedure” (uitgeprocedeerd). These are mostly “failed asylum seekers” who have
exhausted all legal appeals in search of regularizing their status in the Netherlands.
Out-of-procedure subjects, or OOPSs, have no formal rights and receive no state
provision. They must leave the country voluntarily within one month or risk deportation.
Many OOPSs who spent weeks or even months in Dutch detention centers
are eventually released onto the streets, as the authorities cannot manage to
deport them. This article interrogates the production and treatment of OOPSs as
nonexistent human beings who are no longer considered by the state as “aliens”
but merely as illegalized bodies. This intriguing case of the state deserting certain
people within its sovereign territory is realized through a process of derecording
OOPSs and formally pretending that they are not part of the governed population.
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