The law specifically designed to help seven-year-old Im Nielsen and her mother Suthida get back into Denmark is on a fast track through parliament and could be in place as early as February, two months before expected.
Im and her mother were sent back to Thailand after Im’s Danish stepfather died of cancer and the immigration authorities ruled that the family had lost their legal ties to Denmark. The case generated intense national debate and all parties in parliament – with the exception of Dansk Folkeparti – agreed to amend the immigration law to help Im and Suthida Nielsen return to Denmark and prevent similar deportation cases in the future.
Enhedslisten spokesperson Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen was pleased that the law change was moving quickly.
“Everyone wants to see this tiny change in the law comes into effect as quickly as possible so that Im and her mother can get back to Denmark,” she told Politiken newspaper.
Schmidt-Nielsen challenged the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (S), to go even further and immediately grant temporary residence permission to the Nielsens so that Im can return to school.
“I see no reason why this family should suffer additional stress," she said. “The goal must be that Im is back with her classmates as soon as possible.”
Im would not be able to attend school if the family returned to Denmark on a tourist visa while their immigration status was being decided.
Im’s case put Danish immigration law under intense scrutiny. Groups like Save the Children and the Council of Europe said that the laws are unnecessarily cruel toward children.
“The government needs to do a review of the entire immigration law,” Schmidt-Nielsen told Politiken. “There are still a number of cases where children are sent out of Denmark, even tough they came here when they were very young or were born and raised here.”