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Denmark: Calls for Immigration Reform Following Controversial Deportation Order

(Dec. 9, 2013) In November 2013, Denmark decided to deport a woman from Thailand and her seven-year-old daughter. The two had moved to Denmark when the woman married a Danish citizen. Following the 2012 death of the citizen, who had served as a step-father to the young girl, the two were subject to deportation. The Immigration Service determined that their ties to Denmark were insufficient, even though the daughter’s most fluent language was Danish and she had spent half her life in the country. Once the case was publicized, the Danish Parliament passed a special motion that quashed the deportation order. (Deportation Triggers Denmark Law Change Demands, ICE NEWS (Nov. 23, 2013).) The Immigration Service is a government agency under the Ministry of Justice. (The Danish Immigration Service, NEW TO DENMARK.DK (last updated Apr. 8, 2013).)

Responding to this incident, a number of groups have called for reform of Denmark’s immigration laws. Former MP Mimi Jacobsen, who is now the Secretary-General of the Danish Save the Children Fund, was among those calling for overall reform. She argued that just making an exception for one appealing child was insufficient (Deportation Triggers Denmark Law Change Demands, supra) and added that “[t]here are masses of cases of children who have tragically been expelled from Denmark without addressing their overall rights and welfare.” (I’m Just One of Many, POLITIKEN.DK NEWS IN ENGLISH (Nov. 14, 2013).)

Another major immigration issue in the country is that sometimes young children are not given permission to live with a parent in Denmark. Approximately 1,043 children under the age of 12 were in that siutation between 2005 and 2010. (Id.)

According to Claus Juul of Amnesty International, in the recent case of the Thai woman and child, the immigration authorities had followed existing laws properly. He suggested that the law itself should be reformed. (Deportation Triggers Denmark Law Change Demands, supra.)