Ombudsman Wants Answers From Immigration Directorate - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Ombudsman Wants Answers From Immigration Directorate

Published December 15, 2015

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Screenshot of RÚV interview

The Parliamentary Ombudsman wants to know how the Immigration Directorate processed the cases of two Albanian asylum seeker families, and has issued a formal letter to that effect. Meanwhile, the parliamentary Judicial Affairs and Education Committee has received applications for citizenship from both families.

RÚV reports that the Parliamentary Ombudsman specifically wants to know how or if the Directorate of Immigration assessed whether the families in question qualified for asylum for humanitarian reasons, as Article 12 f of the Act on Foreigners allows.

As reported, both families have at least one child with serious health conditions; one with a three-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis, and the other with a one-year-old son with a heart condition.

However, as the Ombudsman points out in his letter, Directorate of Immigration Director Kristín Völundardóttir said in an interview with RÚV that both families were deported on the grounds that the families could just as easily receive adequate health care in Albania. At the same time, she also said she did not know if the Directorate had assessed whether or not the children in question could actually receive health care.

An Icelandic doctor has already criticised the deportation decision, likening it to a death sentence for the children in question. The Director has until January 15 to respond to the Ombudsman’s letter.

In related news, RÚV also reports that the parliamentary Judicial Affairs and Education Committee has received applications for citizenship from both families. Committee chairperson Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir confirmed this was the case, and that the Committee will now be tasked with gathering the necessary documentation to make a formal decision.

While the fate of the families is still uncertain, sources close to RÚV say there is multipartisan willingness to grant citizenship to both families.

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