Seven-year-old Im Nielsen and her mother, Suthida Nielsen, flew to Thailand yesterday after Hjørring City Court upheld the Immigration Service’s decision to deport them following the death of Suthida’s Danish husband (Im's stepfather).
Im has lived half her life in Denmark, speaks only Danish, and is enrolled in first grade at Aabybro Skole, but the Immigration Service found that she and her mother’s ties to Thailand were stronger than their ties to Denmark.
The immigration appeals council Udlændingenævnet and Hjørring City Court both agreed that the pair no longer had a valid reason to remain in the country after Im’s stepfather died of cancer.
Im wants to stay
In the airport on their way out of the country, TV2 News interviewed Im about the circumstances of her departure.
“We have to go to Thailand because my father is dead,” Im told TV2 News, adding that she would miss her school and wanted to stay near her grandparents and cousins.
“I don’t have any friends [in Thailand] and I am a bit nervous about going to school and having a hard time,” the seven-year-old said.
Justice Ministry investigating rule change
In a statement to Berlingske, Justice Minister Morten Bødskov (S) 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.
TV2's interview with Im Nielsen can be seen here.