Editorial | Stop putting points before people

If youÂ’d have asked us a few weeks ago, weÂ’d have said that we couldnÂ’t go on writing a story each time we stumbled across a case of someone caught up in the immigration system.

Since the spring, we’ve written about Gus Murray, the successful entrepreneur nearly kicked out because he received 3,932.13 kroner in public assistance – money which the council said he was entitled to receive.

Then there was Sirapat, the 13-year-old deported to Thailand where he has no family, and Ripa, a cheerful eight-year-old who risks deportation to Bangladesh, both because they are “incapable of being integrated”.

WeÂ’ve also written about the uncertain futures of the Thai girlfriend of a Danish pensioner and a Vietnamese woman who is the mother of an infant child with a hip problem incapable of being treated in Vietnam.

But all those decisions were made before the Socialdemokraterne-led government came to power, pledging to put a human face back on immigration rules. That was then, and this is now, we thought, and weÂ’re done writing about a system that puts points before people. That was until this week, when two more cases made the news.

In the first, another child, Phatteera, who appears to be a well adjusted seven-year-old (speaks Danish, has Danish friends and is doing well in school), faces deportation, while her mother and sister would be permitted to remain in Denmark with her step-father. She too has been found to be “incapable of being integrated”.

The other foreigner finding himself in immigration limbo this week is Mark Turner, an American who has lived in Denmark for the past seven years. He has started a company here that earns 10 million kroner a year, yet he failed to earn permanent residency because he didnÂ’t earn the required 15 points for community service based on rules the government has promised to phase out.

It would be unreasonable to assume that immigration laws that took ten years to build up can be torn down overnight, but itÂ’s disappointing that three months after the new government took office, weÂ’re still writing about immigration policies that put points before people.

The government has said it will reform immigration laws. We can only encourage them to hurry up – not just for the sake of those who risk being torn from their families, but for the country’s own good as well. As Turner put it, if he wasn’t married to a Dane, he’d have left long ago. But the next time a highly skilled, highly-motivated person comes into conflict with immigration laws, we could find ourselves writing about the tax payer that got away.