Editorial | To err is human (to forgive is forbidden)

September 22nd, 2012 8:39 am| by admin
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If immigration experts themselves are getting the rules wrong, how can anyone else be expected to get them right?

There’s no doubt about it, Mahadi Hasan Tusher violated immigration laws earlier this year when he applied for a green card while residing in Denmark.

Nor is there any doubt that Udlændingestyrelsen was exacting the mandated punishment for illegal immigrants when it expelled Tusher from Denmark and banned him from returning to the Schengen area for two years.

Tusher’s decision to start living in Denmark while he was waiting for a decision about his green card application – which would have given him the right to live in Denmark while seeking a job to match his degree in economics – could have been the result of bad advice by Udlændingestyrelsen, as Tusher alleges. It is also possible that he simply misunderstood the advice that was given to him. But what isn’t disputable is that he made no effort to deceive immigration officials.

Not only did he contact Ulændingestyrelsen multiple times, he even sent them his new – Danish – address. This is hardly the type of behaviour you’d expect from someone seeking to avoid detection. Unfortunately, unyielding enforcement of regulations is something that immigrants (and would be immigrants) have come to expect from immigration officials over the past decade. Apparently still ingrained in the culture of the immigration officials, the practice remains far from the ‘new era’ of immigration policy promised by the new government after it came to power 12 months ago.

Deporting someone for what may just be an honest mistake resembles the previous government’s immigration policies at their worst and does little to restore Denmark’s image as a tolerant country.

Coincidentally, precisely the same allegations of uninformed counselling are currently being levelled by a number of Jutland families against an Aarhus-based immigration consulting firm. Indvandrerådgivningen, a for-profit company, has come under fire for the alleged gross misguidance of individuals – Danes as well as immigrants – seeking to bring their foreign spouses to Denmark (so-called ‘family reunification’).

Just as with Tusher’s complaint against Udlændingestyrelsen, it’s still unproven whether the owner-operator of the Aarhus firm gave bad advice. But, as a person with no formal qualifications to help immigrants, you wouldn’t be surprised if he got the rules wrong; the last people we’d expect not to know the rules backwards and forward are the people responsible for administering them.

Based on the allegations of the Jutland families, the national consumer watchdog Forbugerombudsmanden has announced it will investigate the Aarhus company. When they are done there, may we suggest they start sniffing around at Udlændingestyrelsen?

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