Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Faces I cannot forget....

This picture has been on my mind all day..........  I read their story this morning before I went to work and I just cannot stop thinking about them. 

We have all talked so much the last two weeks about the new proposed immigration policies that are on their way to Denmark...and in fact by tomorrow, they may actually be law...
But today I have not been concerned about policies or points or politicians...
today all I can think about are people.
These people. 

Loren David Neufeldt (an American man) and Michelle Hilden (his Danish wife).
They have been married 9 years and have lived in Denmark the last 3 years. 
He has had his temporary residency permit (just like mine), passed his Danish language exam (just like me), and has a job in the Danish workforce (just like me). 
In May they were supposed to apply for his residency renewal. 
The process says that you CANNOT apply more than 60 days before your day runs out, but you must apply NO LESS than 30 days before it runs out; so yeah, tiny little window.
Well, they missed the deadline.
And this week they received a letter.
They received a letter telling Loren that he has 48 hours to GET OUT OF DENMARK.
No call from his "kommune socialrådgiver"; no reminder in the mail about the missed deadline; no second chance although he has jumped through EVERY OTHER HOOP that the country has asked of him. 

Yes, they made a mistake; they missed a deadline....an important deadline. But THEY ARE PEOPLE. PEOPLE WITH A LIFE HERE. 

I have many friends who are expats here; expats from other EU countries. Expats who don't have to worry about those paperwork deadliness. But today my mind has been on my other American, Canadian, and Brazilian friends who are married Danes ....those of us NOT from EU countries, and some in our group have missed their paperwork renewal deadline in the past, hurrying to get things turned in so that their file would be in order again. I sent an email to some of them today, suggesting that we create our own "EXPAT CARE GROUP" with each other....knowing each other's deadlines for residency renewal and making sure we don't let each other forget. 

Because I am sure that this time last week, Loren and Michelle NEVER DREAMED this could happen to them.....

They are not policies or subjects of a point system. 
They are people.


Corinne said...

It is madness you would need to have a support group just to get paperwork in on time because of the possibility of getting kicked out.

And the thing is, from what I read about Denmark, this stuff is nothing new. There's the people who have to leave because a spouse dies, the old laws, the rules that came out a year ago, the new laws. I don't know... the whole situation is just so awful. How are these DFP people still in power?

nell said...

48 hours to get out after missing 1 deadline...seems fair, NOT!. That is crazy. Makes me worry about my USA-Canadian family. I mean if Denmark is doing it will other countries jump on the hatred bandwagon?

Fuzzy said...

I think it's horrific what's happening, but then again, I happened to be equally appalled when Iraqi refugees were FORCIBLY REMOVED FROM A CHURCH SANCTUARY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT and forced back to their war-torn homeland. Yes, that was equally appalling, and equally unfair, but hey, better late than never, I suppose.

Maybe this case will cause reflection among many in hindsight, and cause people to revise their earlier opinions of previous cases. Let us hope.

Annarella said...

Yikes! Thanks for posting this story. It made me check up on when and how I'm supposed to renew my green card in the US. While searching for answers, I found out that I'm late on another deadline. I moved to a new place 2 months ago, and apparently I was supposed to fill out a change of address form and send to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

# It is a misdemeanor crime to willfully fail to provide the USCIS with a written notice of address change (Form AR-11) within 10 days after remaining in the United States for 30 days or more.

# Individuals being convicted, including the parent or the legal guardian of an alien under age 14 who is required to give notice, can be fined up to $200 or imprisoned up to 30 days or a combination of both.

# Individuals may also be deported from the United States, ref. INA § 266(b).

franziengland said...

Hi Kelli, Remember me? Ingrid, Tara's friend. Just passed by from Tara's blog and read this post.
Sounds absurd to me! I forget lots of things! I would never ever expect a thing like that to have such huge effects. In a country like Denmark! Unbelievable. I really hope they get some help form his company or somewhere else... Take care!

Tara said...

My Canadian husband missed an appointment and all we got was a letter saying he had to give his green card back immediately. The letter also mentioned there was no appeal process. We called and tried to talk to people, but nope. "Give the Green Card Back"... So he did.

We live in Hamburg now so it's not a problem, but there went $8,000. ...and we'll have to start all over when we go back to live in the States.

Anonymous said...

I'm outraged, appalled and deeply saddened!

Bri said...

The times I've been to Ryesgade, that's Udlændingeservice (Immigration Service) HQ, the staff there do not treat you like a person. I assume it must be how they are told to deal with people, because I'm sure if they were remembering that those cases they are 'processing' involve people's lives they would be the most depressed people with the least amount of job satisfaction of any industry.

My Dane and I went into UK Home Office the other week and compared to Udlændingeservice it was like a walk in the park complete with a picnic!

C said...

If you don't stand up who does?

Alex said...

I love your idea of a care group, something not only positive, but constructive that you can do when you have limited power over other things. Thank you for reminding me of this.