7-year-old Im Nielsen and her mother Suthida were on Sunday November 10 forced to leave Denmark due to the decision of the city court in Hjørring in the Northern part of Denmark.
The case caused a lot of awareness from friends and relatives of the little family, and the local society in the city of Aabybro supported the family in their attempt to make the authorities reconsider the decision.
Back in September the Danish Immigration Service decided to deport Im and her mother, who are native Thai, after they lost the stepfather and husband Johnny Nielsen to cancer in 2012. When the case in October was taken to the city court of Hjørring it was once again decided to send them back to Thailand. The explanation was that their connection to Thailand was bigger than to Denmark.
Im, who lived most of her life in Denmark, is fully integrated in a Danish school and speaks fluent Danish, said to Danish Television TV2, that she was sad about leaving Denmark and her family behind.
“I want to stay in Denmark, because here I have my grandma and grandpa, my cousins, my friends and a great school”.
Danish Television met Im and her mother in the airport just before they flew from Aalborg airport to Copenhagen. Scores of people from the small society of Aabybro met up to say a last goodbye hoping that the Minister of Justice would do something to avoid it in last minute. But it did not happen.
Anders Christensen who is the father of a fellow child from Im’s school arranged on Saturday, they day before they had to leave, a torchlight parade to mark the case, which he found unreasonable.
“I was not aware how fast it would go (before they were sent out). I couldn’t image it so, and it made me angry and sad, and that is where it started (the planning of the torchlight parade)” he said to TV2.dk
The case is running high in the Danish media agenda in these days, and Danes from all over the country supported Im and her mother in the attempt to come back to Denmark. Several supporting Facebook-pages were created, and the public feeling in general is in favor of the mother-daughter duo.
In a statement to Berlingske, Justice Minister Morten Bødskov said that while the case was tragic, he was unable to intervene in individual cases.
He added that the case had been properly dealt with, after first being assessed by the Immigration Service, subsequently ruled upon by Udlændingenævnet and the Hjørring City Court.
“What I can do is ensure that the rules are fair and therefore, in light of the case, I have asked my civil servants to look at how we in the future can ensure that people who have come to Denmark using family reunification, and have tried to integrate even though they have not been in the country long, don’t lose their residency after the death of their partner,” Bødskov said to The Copenhagen Post.
Amnesty International said that in previous cases similar to this one, there happened to be reconsideration. Also a representative from the opposition party Venstre, said that she supported the expulsion to be set aside.
Within the next 12 hours Im and her mother Suthida are supposed to be back in Thailand, and ScandAsia are working on a way to get in contact with them.