Editorial | A giant leap for families, a small step towards a “new era”

Paramedics in southern Jutland needed (photo: iStock)
February 16th, 2012 9:23 am| by admin
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Call it a victory no-one is cheering. On the surface of it, last weekÂ’s announcement that children under eight would no longer be kicked out of the country for being found “unable to be integrated” looks like a win for families. And for some parents faced with the heartbreaking choice of a life with their children in their home country or a better life in Denmark, it is. 

But despite the agreement to stop applying the law to the youngest children, it remains, for all intents and purposes, in place. So while the deal is good news for some, it still leaves us wondering when – if ever – the government’s promised “new era” of immigration will begin in earnest.

Given the condemnation of the rule by domestic and international rights experts, itÂ’s hard to see what the government stands to gain by not eliminating it entirely. The government has a solid parliamentary majority in favour of doing so, and it has a cause the press is sympathetic to. 

For a young government hard-pressed to claim any sort of political victory in the past five months, sending a clear signal that it is serious about turning its back on ten years of increasingly repressive immigration policy would have helped it re-capture the enthusiasm of the progressive-minded voters that helped propel it into office last year.

One reason for the back-track could be the legitimate concern that it will re-open the door to the dreaded ‘re-education trips’. Well intentioned as this may be, it’s unfortunate, since the rule’s intention is to prevent parents from not allowing their kids become too Danish, not hinder other kids from becoming Danish at all.

To the governmentÂ’s credit, this isnÂ’t the first measure theyÂ’ve taken towards a more humane immigration policy – immigration authority Udlændingservice has been retooled and rechristened, and one of the two immigration point systems has been shelved. 

Even though we would have hoped to be able to list more changes by this point, weÂ’ll take last weekÂ’s agreement as another step away from the ‘Firm and FairÂ’ policy of its predecessor that had become ever more firm and ever less fair. 

But, that sound you hear isnÂ’t us applauding the latest change, itÂ’s us impatiently tapping our foot as we wait for the bad old days to come to an end.

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