Politicians react to family’s loss of citizenship

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Ten descendants of a couple who came to Norway as refugees 27 years ago all face losing their Norwegian citizenship and passports because immigration authorities now claim the couple lied about their origins. Politicians and legal experts are protesting the entire family’s threatened deportation. 

Several Members of Parliament including Ingjerd Schou of the Conservative Party and Hadia Tajik of the Labour Party maintain that the children and grandchildren of the couple should not be punished for the couple’s alleged fraud. They had claimed to be Palestinian refugees from Syria, but Norwegian immigration agency UDI has now discovered they were citizens of Jordan with no need for protection or asylum in Norway

The couple had three children with them when they arrived in Norway in 1990 and they all were eventually granted Norwegian citizenship. Their children grew up in Norway and have since married and had children of their own. Now UDI (Utlendingsdirektoratet) has moved to seize the passports of all 12 family members over three generations and order them to leave Norway. The case is currently under appeal.

Law Professor Hans Petter Graver at the University of Oslo told newspaper Aftenposten on Tuesday that it’s illegal to invalidate the passport of a child born in Norway. “The treatment of the grandchildren in this case is alarming and in violation of the law,” Graver told Aftenposten. “It also violates fundamental principles. This is not worthy of Norwegian administration.”

Graver claimed that UDI cannot “de-register” the grandchildrens’ citizenship, while Tajik, Schou and MPs from several other parties claim the entire case must be reviewed in terms of the rights of the children who have lived their entire lives in Norway. Tajik, a lawyer herself, noted that citizenship can be revoked if false claims were made, but that their children can’t be punished as well. The Conservative Party now wants to change Norwegian law to reflect that.

UDI has claimed that it has not revoked the grandchildrens’ passports, but that they can be eliminated from the official population register (Folkeregister) if their parents’ citizenship is revoked. That would be done if the appeals’ board agrees with UDI’s revocation order.

newsinenglish.no staff