“Unacceptable” Family Has Waited So Long, Says Justice Minister Skip to content
Áslaug Arna
Photo: Golli.

“Unacceptable” Family Has Waited So Long, Says Justice Minister

Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir says it is unacceptable that a Senegalese family has waited for six years for a decision on their application for asylum, Vísir reports. The family’s case shows the importance of granting work permits to people outside the European Economic Area, she added. The family is now set to be deported, but have appealed the decision to the Immigration Appeals Board.

“This is, of course, an unacceptable length of time,” Áslaug stated. “This also shows regarding work permits and the importance of changing them and opening them, that when people want to come to this country and work we need to have our eyes more open for people outside the EEA.”

Two Daughters Born in Iceland

Bassirou Ndiaye and Mahe Diouf, originally from Senegal, have lived and worked in Iceland for almost seven years. Throughout that time, they have applied for residency and asylum in Iceland, without success. Bassirou is Christian and Mahe is Muslim, and they assert their marriage endangers them in their country of origin.

The couple’s daughters Regine Marta, 6, and Elodie Marie, 3, were born in Iceland and attend primary school and preschool. Mahe says that women’s rights are not protected in Senegal and if they were forced to return to the country, the girls face a risk of genital mutilation.

As of the time of writing, nearly 18,000 have signed a petition in support of the family, calling for the government to reverse the deportation order.

Lawyer Appeals Decision

The family’s lawyer has requested for their case to be reopened by the Immigration Appeals Board, and Áslaug points out that the board is independent and will make a decision in the case. She stated that she believes people should have the opportunity to work in Iceland but that the discussion of who is granted work permits falls under the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Áslaug pointed out that immigration law has been updated in recent years and procedural time has been shortened. She says the family’s case does not conform to new guidelines on case processing time.

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