Family of Six to be Deported Next Week Skip to content

Family of Six to be Deported Next Week

By Larissa Kyzer

Photo: Screenshot, Vísir.

A six-person family, including four children aged two to twelve, will be deported from Iceland on Wednesday of next week, RÚV reports. The family hails from Egypt and has been living in Iceland for two years, having applied for asylum in August 2018. Despite public outcry over the family’s situation, however, Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir says that the government will not be making any policy changes to benefit a single family.

The Directorate of Immigration rejected the asylum application submitted by spouses Dooa and Ibrahim on behalf of themselves and their children Rewida, Abdalla, Hamza, and Mustafa in July of last year. The decision was appealed, but that appeal has now also been denied, some 15 months later. This time period is particularly significant; last year, new regulations issued by the Ministry of Justice mandated that visas be granted on humanitarian grounds any time court proceedings regarding asylum applications dragged on for longer than 16 months.

Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir says that processing times have been shortened for humanitarian cases, particularly when children are involved. For reasons that were not explained by the minister, the time that the family waited to have their initial application reviewed prior to the appeal is not being figured into the overall wait time. A lawyer for the Red Cross has since called this selective time-keeping “unacceptable” and said that the current law needs to be changed. “It should much rather be the time from when the application is submitted to when they receive a written decision…” said lawyer Guðríður Lára Þrastardóttir.

During the time that they’ve lived in Iceland, the family has put down roots. The children have attended school and kindergarten, learned Icelandic, and made friends. Nevertheless, Áslaug remarked, “we’re not making changes to regulations to save individual families who go to the media.”

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