Published July 20, 2012
A young woman from the Philippines whose entire surviving family lives in Iceland could be deported on Monday back to a country where she knows no one.
Morgunblaðið reports on the story of Romylyn Patty Faigane, a 21-year-old Filipina who has repeatedly attempted to get a residence permit to be with her surviving family in Iceland, only to be repeatedly rejected.
Romylyn’s mother, Marylyn, married Ellert Högni Jónsson seven years ago, and then moved to Iceland. Romylyn remained with her grandfather in the Philippines in the meantime, but Ellert applied for a residence permit in Iceland for the girl, who was 14 at the time. The Directorate of Immigration rejected the request on the grounds that Romylyn’s father was still alive in the Philippines – not taking into considering that her father was otherwise occupied and had actually taken little part in her life.
Romylyn’s father was murdered in 2009, and her family in Iceland once again sought to have her gain residency here. This application even had the support of then Foreign Minister Össur Skarphéðinsson, but was still rejected. Shortly thereafter, Romylyn turned 18, she was put in another category of immigrant, having to prove she was coming as a student or an expert.
Romylyn stayed with her grandfather, but when he had to be placed in a nursing home, she had nowhere else to turn to, and came to Iceland last December on a tourist visa. After re-applying for a residence permit, she was once again rejected and ordered to leave the country within 30 days. Those 30 days run out on Monday.
The ruling may, in fact, violate European and Icelandic law. The Convention on the Rights of the Child – of which Iceland is a signatory – explicitly expresses the need for family reunification, citing among other things Article 3 of the Declaration on Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, which states: “The first priority for a child is to be cared for by his or her own parents.”
Ellert told reporters that her family is terrified that she will end up living on the streets if she goes back to the Philippines. A Facebook page has been established to help raise public awareness and support, and the family have appealed to the Minister of the Interior to reverse the directorate’s decision.