A Nigerian asylum seeker, who is 12 weeks pregnant and has two small boys, is facing deportation to a country she left at the age of six.
The Grapevine met with Regina Osarumaese, a Nigerian woman who left her home country when she was only six years old, and has been on the run ever since. She arrived in Iceland in 2014 with her son Daniel, who in 2012 was born in Italy, where they used to live on the streets. Her second son, Felix, was born in Iceland in 2014.
Despite repeated requests for asylum, she has been rejected by both the Directorate of Immigration (UTL) and the Immigration Appeals Board. As such, while she does have the right to appeal her case to Reykjavík District Court or the Supreme Court, this costs money – far more money than Regina has on hand.
Regina contends that her family was persecuted, necessitating their flight from Nigeria when she was just a small child. Regardless, in documents from UTL and the Immigration Appeals Board, authorities contend that they see no reason why Regina or her children would be in any danger if they were sent back to Nigeria.
“I don’t know anyone in Italy,” she told us. “I have no one in Nigeria anymore. My children and I will be living on the street if we’re sent back there.”
Stranger still is the fact that Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal, who oversees UTL, told parliament last September that Italy is amongst the European countries that “are not considered secure countries. It would not be safe to send asylum seekers back there”.
Regina says she is already establishing a life for herself here, and her children have started making friends. However, UTL has ruled that neither Regina nor her children have any special ties to Iceland – even though Felix was born here. Despite being 12 weeks pregnant, she is still slated to be put on a plane with her children and sent to Italy, where she says her choices are to live on the street or be sent back to Nigeria, where her life and the lives of her children will be in danger.
“I just want to make a life for my children here,” Regina says. “There is nothing for me in Nigeria.”