Albanian Families Arrive Today - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Albanian Families Arrive Today

Published January 12, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

The two Albanian families who were deported last month and then granted Icelandic citizenship will be arriving today.

Housing has already been found for the two families, with one family to live in Reykjanesbær and the other in downtown Reykjavík. Their flights were comped by WOW Air, and Hermann Ragnarsson, who has worked tirelessly to help them, has been arranging furniture for these households.

As reported, both families sought asylum in Iceland, but were denied by the Directorate of Immigration. Both families have children with serious illnesses – a child in one family has cystic fibrosis, and the other has a child with a heart condition – and could have been granted asylum on humanitarian grounds, as stipulated in Icelandic law.

Their subsequent deportation sparked strong public criticism, and pressure was put on parliament to bring them back. Both Albanian families filed applications for citizenship, which the Judicial Affairs and Education Committee granted.

The handling of the case by the Directorate of Immigration, as well as contradictory statements from the Director on the matter, prompted the Parliamentary Ombudsman to file a formal request for an explanation. The Directorate has until January 15 to respond.

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