Some Children are Possibly “Ulovlige”

Madina Salamova, commonly known under the pseudonym Maria
Amelie, is a Russian born author and journalist who became known in Norway as
the author of the book Illegal Norwegian (Ulovlige Norsk). Amelie and her
family fled from Russia and went to Finland in October 2000 searching for
asylum, but their application was denied. In October 2002 the family went on to
Norway and also applied for asylum there. They were again rejected in 2003 and
were thus obliged to leave Norway, but chose to live in hiding. For the last
eight years Maria and her family lived illegally at an undisclosed address in
Norway. During their stay, Maria has earned a university degree from NTNU in
Trondheim and has written a book in perfect Norwegian. The book is based on
Amelie’s diaries, blog entries and memoirs about her life as a person without
legal residence in Norway, or as a so-called “paperless” (papirløs).

While her couragous book brought the sitaution of rejected
immigrants children to the table, Amelie was arrested by the police in January
2011 and deported to Russia.

Thursday 12 January was the first anniversary of Maria
Amelie was arrested outside the Nansen Academy. Despite the fact that Amelie is
currently living legally in Norway, the debate on “ulovlige”
immigrants has heated again because of the agreement made between Norway and
the Meles regime to deport more than 400 of them after March 16, 2012.

Many of the 400 undocumented children have spent much of
their childhood in Norway, many of them are born here. Their situation has
become even harder after their parents last year lost the permission to work.

It is estimated that there are a few thousand children who
live as paperless in Norway. Some of these people live indefinitely at a
reception center. Some are born in Norway, many came here as young children.
Common to all is that they are the victims of their families’ actions and more
attached to Norway in one way or another than their families’ land. 

Communications Manager in Antirasistisk Senter Rune Berglund
Steen says the main deficiency is the lack of acknowledgement of the problem. A
large majority of EU countries have had amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
Moreover, neighboring countries Sweden and Finland also have adopted fixed
regulations. Even Barack Obama last year signaled a comprehensive and a more
inclusive measure for illegal immigrants in the US.

-There are a lot of Norwegian politicians admiring Obama,
but as for action, Norway is lagging behind. We do accept the fact that you
have to leave the country if your application is rejected and do not propose a
massive amnesty, but there should be a fixed limit for how long anyone can stay
in Norway without any rights, says Steen. He also adds, saying that this limit
should be short when children are involved.

What Do Politicians Think?

Progress Party (FrP)
leader Siv Jensen

Jensen, whose party is known with anti-immigration plicies,
says giving amnesty to the so-called asylum children cannot solve the problem.

– For the last ten years, two different governments gave
right hundreds of asylum seekers to stay in Norway because they failed to send
them out of the country. This practice must be stopped, says the Progress Party

Norwegian politician
for the Christian Democratic Party (KrF), Geir Jorgen Bekkevold

– Consideration of the child must weigh heavier than
immigration policy. If the government plans to forcibly return the families to
Ethiopia, they have to consider their children who have lived all their lives
in Norway, says Geir Jorgen Bekkevold.

Krf Politician states that Christian Democratic Party is
very concerned about these children and their families and asks the government
to stop their return until the it is discussed in the Parliament.

Leader of the
Conservative Party (Høyre), Erna Solberg

– It is not appropriate for the Conservatives to give
general amnesty. We can not create rules that reward people who do not leave
Norway when they have been rejected.

Leader of Socialist
Left Party (SV), Audun Lysbakken

Children who have been in Norway for years with strong ties
must obtain a residence and a safe future in this country, says Audun

He also said that they grew up here, went to school and have
friends here and suggested that it is essential to put in place new rules for
longer stay of these children.


About the Case

The Norwegian government is set to deport over 400
Ethiopian refugees living in the country without legal documents or resident
permit back to Ethiopia. This was followed after the signing of a Memorandum of
Understanding on January 26 in Addis Ababa for enabling Ethiopian citizens in
Norway to return to Ethiopia in a secure and dignified manner.

Ethiopian citizens have for many years been a large group of
asylum seekers in Norway, and up to 2009, Norway used to give work permit to
all asylum seekers. But it had to abandon this policy because of the increasing
number of immigrants in camps. Some people went back to their countries, as a
matter of fact.

The financial benefits for those who are returning home
voluntarily include about 15,000 NOK when they arrive in Addis Ababa, he
stated. And they will be given an additional 30,000 birr to start business, to
pursue their education or use it for whatever purpose they have in mind.
Totally, about 45,000 NOK will be given to those who sign the agreement to
return home voluntary.

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