Asylum for children
Deportations of child asylum seekers continues to be an issue for Progress’s (FrP) Anders Anundsen
Susanne Tunge Østhus
The Rightist bipartite coalition pledged last year that asylum seeker minors who had remained in Norway for a long time should be protected against deportation.
However, the National Police Directorate did not forward the instructions regarding this to either the Police Immigration Service (PU), or Norway’s police districts, regional publication Bergens Tidende (BT) reported, Tuesday, Dec. 2.
The formulation in the orders from the coalition to the Police Directorate was significantly changed. The order originally read to prioritize cases “involving children who have stayed long in Norway without permission,” but was replaced with “cases involving children should be prioritized.”
Justice Minister Anders Anundsen was urgently summoned to Parliament by government partners the Christian Democrats (KrF) and the Liberals (V) the same day.
During this parliamentary question time, Minister Anundsen said that “I cannot do anything but apologize; such mistakes should not occur,” NRK reported.
“The Police Directorate has not followed up the important policy change that we have made. It is a very unfortunate situation and something that should not occur,” he told NTB.
The matter has not stopped there, however. The process that might result in the Minister being called to account to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs begins today.
“Although the minister has now apologized, it is necessary that we who sit on the committee ask our questions to get to the bottom of the matter,” Martin Kolberg, Committee Chairman for the Labor Party (Ap), commented.
For their part, National Police Directorate (POD) officials have apologized for the events that transpired.
“The National Police Directorate should have forwarded these to the Police Immigration Service and police districts. This was not done, and it is our error,” POD Commissioner Odd Reidar Humlegård said in an official statement.
POD is now thoroughly reviewing all deportation cases where altered practice could have influenced the outcome.
Dagsavisen has reported that 84 asylum children who have been in Norway for more than three years, and who could potentially have been granted residence under the new rules, have been deported from Norway.
Immigration authorities’ deportations were also at their highest-ever in September for this year. 107 children were deported during this month.
Moreover, the Christian Democrats have demanded that new legislation regarding asylum seeking children needs to be in place within 14 days.
“Our biggest concern is that children who could have been granted residence under the new regulations may have been sent out,” Party leader Knut Arild Hareide remarked to NRK. “It’s completely wrong to continue the practice until new regulations are in place. We should stop deportations until further notice,” he said.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg has explained that the government is working hard regarding coming to an agreement.
She was hoping it would happen before Christmas, but would not commit a final deadline, the state-owned broadcaster wrote.
This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.
It also appeared in the Dec. 12, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.