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"...I feel Norwegian and my friends call me Norwegian. I feel this is where I belong"
February 2, 2011 9:06 AM   Subscribe

Why Norway deported its 'Norwegian of the year'.
posted by klue (36 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was expecting a Black Metal dude.
posted by jonmc at 9:10 AM on February 2, 2011


I just came in here to write the same thing. Damn.
posted by nevercalm at 9:14 AM on February 2, 2011


From the main BBC link:

John Peder Egenaes, head of Amnesty International Norway, said: "Norway is one of the few countries that have not at any point had any kind of regularisation of these people's situations.

"I believe six million people have undergone so-called regularisation in Europe.

"It basically means their status as illegal is changed to legal. And this has never happened in Norway. We are just creating a paperless underclass right now."


That middle sentence didn't half give me a jolt for a moment.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:15 AM on February 2, 2011


They're a sharing people.
posted by Jilder at 9:17 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Many of the people demonstrating against her deportation argue that paperless immigrants should be granted the right to work, pay taxes and access Norway's public health service... "

Meanwhile, in the USA, we have teabaggers protesting immigrants even getting due process...
posted by notsnot at 9:23 AM on February 2, 2011


Generally the immigrants in Norway aren't brown, notsnot. I'm sure if all our illegals were tall, striking, blonde, pale, blue-eyed Scandinavians and Russians, the Tea-Party would be happy to have them.
posted by spicynuts at 9:24 AM on February 2, 2011


Generally the immigrants in Norway aren't brown, notsnot. I'm sure if all our illegals were tall, striking, blonde, pale, blue-eyed Scandinavians and Russians, the Tea-Party would be happy to have them.

Well there is actually some racism directed at eastern european immigrants to Scandinavia. According to the racists they bring disease and crime, but I'm sure that's not at all similar.
posted by atrazine at 9:27 AM on February 2, 2011


This has been a major story for weeks here, as you can imagine.

There are no good or easy answers here.

She could have put in an application to apply for asylum herself, but didn't. This very well could have gotten her citizenship, as she had a good case, but it also could have meant that her parents could be identified and deported (they wouldn't have had a good case).

Keep in mind that Norway is very much a jus sanguinis place, probably at the farthest end of this spectrum that a place can be and still have sane laws. The US is about as far as you can get on the other end of the spectrum (jus soli).

This is why my daughter, born of two American citizens in Norway, had *no citizenship* at the time of her birth. She wasn't Norwegian, because she wasn't the child of a citizen, and we had to claim American citizenship for her, because not being born in America, she wasn't automatically granted it. It's a weird world we live in.
posted by grajohnt at 9:28 AM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ultimately, I hope M.A's plight will have shed enough light on the situation many refugees find themselves in here in Norway. The legal argument aside, this situation has been handled in a spectacularly tactless fashion by the Norwegian government, which is part of the reason so many are being vocal about it.

For a small sampler of tactlessness, check out the Norwegian Immigration's flickr stream. Yes, those are people being deported, shared for your viewing pleasure.

By choosing to take a stand with the handling of this particular case, they've shot themselves in the foot so thoroughly they've got nothing left to stand on. She's Norwegian of the Year; she's got friends in high places and friends who buy ink by the proverbial barrel. She's everything the government would want in an ideal immigrant: a thriving, well-integrated, contributing member of society.

Adding insult to injury, her case was dismissed outright as a codependent of her parents'. She's 25 now, and never got her case reviewed on its own merits: her parents choose to remain in Norway as illegal immigrants. She was 12-13 at the time of arrival - hardly an independent actor in that horrible "crime" of desperately wanting a better, safer life. Despite having grown up, made a life and completed a Master's here, she hasn't got quite enough of a "proven (cultural) attachment to Norway".

And finally, the most important reason she was denied was because of the political ramifications it would have on the existing policies, a so-called "signal effect".

Detractors say her case is hardly unique and that the media coverage is trumped up. I agree, but people who can't see all the trees for the forest are finally opening their eyes to the fact that each of these trees has a unique story of its own. And that's her contribution, as a temporary martyr and embodiment of everyone living a life of hiding in this country.

If any one country could afford to be generous in circumstances like these ones, it should be one of the wealthiest. And Norway is just that.
posted by flippant at 9:41 AM on February 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Keep in mind that Norway is very much a jus sanguinis place, probably at the farthest end of this spectrum that a place can be and still have sane laws. The US is about as far as you can get on the other end of the spectrum (jus soli).

Bear in mind that many legislators in the US want to completely do away with the jus soli that's currently in place and are doing everything they can to make it happen.
posted by blucevalo at 10:19 AM on February 2, 2011


Raskt! Deportere henne før hun faller et anker baby!
posted by Xoebe at 10:24 AM on February 2, 2011


Xoebe: ? Did you use google translate or something? Did you mean to say 'Quick! Deport her before she drops an anchor baby!'?
posted by widdershins at 10:37 AM on February 2, 2011


... because it currently says 'Quick! Deport her before she falls an anchor, baby!' and I had to read it several times before I realized she hadn't tripped over an anchor. Had never heard of an anchor baby before today.
posted by widdershins at 10:40 AM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Another wrinkle is that if Maria Amelie/Madina Salamova hadn't written her book, she would've been left alone by the state, as she had been for years. Her harsh treatment is a direct result of having expressed herself publicly. It's intolerable that a country that champions human rights, its parliament selects the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for Jebus' sake, decides to make an example of a writer. It's shameful. I was shocked that the Norwegian state would behave like this. That she was originally arrested leaving the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, but Nansen fought for the rights of refugees, especially Russian and Caucasian refugees, was adding insult to injury.

I and another Icelandic writer organized and wrote an open letter from Icelandic writers in support of Maria Amelie (we got 63 signatures, which is a fairly hefty percentage of all published Icelandic writers). The feeling here in Iceland is that not only have her human rights been trampled on but that freedom of expression has been curtailed in Norway. The message that government has sent out is that if you are an illegal immigrant or if your immigration status is unclear or under review, you better not speak up or else they'll come after you.

I know this is naive but I never thought I'd see the Norwegian state behaving like this.
posted by Kattullus at 10:41 AM on February 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, in the USA, we have teabaggers protesting immigrants even getting due process...

There's no big difference. Lots of people protest against deportations here (often successfully) while Norway also has lots of nativists. Reflexive self-criticism is no more sensible than reflexive self-praise.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:48 AM on February 2, 2011


you know, we could solve all the problems of illegal immigration just by ending the barriers to the movement of people. There is no good reason for immigration control, just a lot of bad ones.
posted by jb at 11:26 AM on February 2, 2011


There is no good reason for immigration control, just a lot of bad ones.

I doubt very much that a place like Norway could afford to have the cradle-to-grave welfare state and excellent public health system that it does, if it had an open borders policy.

What you'd get without immigration policies would be young, healthy people moving to low-tax jurisdictions and then when they get old or sick, moving to high-tax welfare states. Not everyone would do that, but I'm absolutely certain that enough people would that it would destroy the economics that make tax-supported welfare systems possible. (It really wouldn't take that many people doing it to throw a wrench in the works, particularly if you think about the political ramifications that you'd get with just a few well-publicized cases of obvious freeloading.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:01 PM on February 2, 2011


It's kind of a complex case, and everyone involved has been kind of apologetic about it, since deportation is what the law requires, and it'd be horrible practice to change the law for this one case.

As I've pointed out to a lot of friends in Norway, it's also kind of worth noting that people are deported from Norway every day, but once we do it to someone white and cute, it's suddenly a huge scandal.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:02 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


jb: you know, we could solve all the problems of illegal immigration just by ending the barriers to the movement of people. There is no good reason for immigration control, just a lot of bad ones.

Have you thought about just how many people would want to immigrate? I'd bet there's at least one person who wants to immigrate to the US or Europe for every person who lives there now. Possibly more than one.

I really don't think the social structures, the economies, or the environments of either place could handle it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:06 PM on February 2, 2011


you know, we could solve all the problems of illegal immigration just by ending the barriers to the movement of people.

We could also beat cancer by breeding unicorns that are able to fart cancer killing drugs!!!
posted by cmonkey at 12:27 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Note to self: Breed unicorns that fart cancer killing drugs while somehow avoiding the ire of Icelandic writers.
posted by grajohnt at 12:36 PM on February 2, 2011


If people want to immigrate, it's because things are so much better there. And they should be allowed to -- it's pay back for the age of exploration aka age of exploitation.

As for "overcrowding", that's bullshit. illegal immigrants move to get jobs. if there weren't any jobs there, they wouldn't immigrate. Better to allow them to immigrate legally, so that they can have the protections of law and undermine the parasites who use their vulnerable position to underpay them.

And as for young people moving to low tax regimes -- again talking out of the nonsense with no evidence from reality. Young people also like good services -- they are just the ones to lack private health benefits, to be laid off first, to have kids and want decent schools, and they don't even make that much money to pay tax. It's the older but not yet retired who have high incomes and pay more tax. As for people retiring -- everyone I know of that age is most concerned about living near their children, wherever that is. I realise that Americans have a weird fetish about moving around the continent, but most of the rest of us place family and familiarity very high on the list of importance.
posted by jb at 12:42 PM on February 2, 2011


I'm resisting making any Norwegian jokes - mostly because no country has perfect immigration-related laws. I will point out, however, that as so very often, it is the right wing that's pressing the most restrictive aspects of the law, while the evil Socialists are trying to liberalize the laws. As has been observed above, there are nativists assholes bad people and right wingers in every country, and Norway is no exception.
posted by VikingSword at 12:54 PM on February 2, 2011


Yet Norway's Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, has stood firm throughout this case. Speaking on national television, he said he understood why people were demonstrating.

"But my task is to make sure we execute a fair refugee and asylum policy, so we have to treat people on an equal basis, [so] that those who are in need of protection are the ones who are allowed to stay," Mr Stoltenberg said.


Spoken like a dispassionate, cold, uncorrupt, and completely sensible Scandinavian bureaucrat.

Norway is being criticised, it seems, for impartially applying Norwegian law.

Quite obviously Ms Saravoka has failed to satisfy the requirements for legal immigration to Norway. She is hardly in the same state of need as many other refugees in Norway. Her fame should mean nothing and should be given no weight by immigration authorities.

Application denied. This is the way business is done in Scandinavia. If indeed Ms Sarakova feels as a "Norwegian" she says she should hardly be surprised at her situation and she should agree with the decision of the authorities to deport her.
posted by three blind mice at 1:26 PM on February 2, 2011


Dear Norway:
When people are questioning the fundamental justice of your actions, it's probably a bad idea to explain your reasoning with terms that might be distilled down to "We were just following orders."
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:42 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Norway is being criticised, it seems, for impartially applying Norwegian law.

I have zero desire to spend time trying to research Norwegian law via Google translate, but unless you can cite or quote the relevant parts of the law in question (not just the ones that support this particular outcome) then you are blowing smoke. Very few countries have laws that are so inflexible as to allow the government of the day no leeway in weighing the merits of individual cases. Statements from politicians that 'the law requires it,' in regard to controversial matters generally rely upon the public's ignorance or superficial understanding of what the law actually says.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:11 PM on February 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


anigbrowl: "Norway is being criticised, it seems, for impartially applying Norwegian law.

I have zero desire to spend time trying to research Norwegian law via Google translate, but unless you can cite or quote the relevant parts of the law in question (not just the ones that support this particular outcome) then you are blowing smoke. Very few countries have laws that are so inflexible as to allow the government of the day no leeway in weighing the merits of individual cases. Statements from politicians that 'the law requires it,' in regard to controversial matters generally rely upon the public's ignorance or superficial understanding of what the law actually says
"

Actually, this seems to be a correct interpretation. They're even talking about changing the law now to make it easier for her to apply for, and quicker to get, a work visa from Moscow, where she is now.

The problem is that her case was decided for her a long time ago. She arrived with her parents, and was underage, so her case was processes along with theirs. The application exhausted all possible avenues of appeal long ago, and was out of her control. This is an unfortunate result of Norwegian law not allowing for asylum seekers to take control of their own application once they come of age.

She was sent to Moscow because the law required it, since all avenues of appeal were exhausted, but everyone's very much encouraging her to apply for a work visa from there, and it seems she'll be allowed to return legally.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:22 PM on February 2, 2011


grajohnt: Note to self: Breed unicorns that fart cancer killing drugs while somehow avoiding the ire of Icelandic writers.

Heaven forfend we meddle in the internal matters of another state.

But seriously, besides being a moral issue, it's in our interest that other Nordic countries don't punish writers for their words.

three blind mice: Spoken like a dispassionate, cold, uncorrupt, and completely sensible Scandinavian bureaucrat.

Norway is being criticised, it seems, for impartially applying Norwegian law.


If the state applied the applicable impartially to begin with, that might be a valid defense, but its functionaries don't. Immigration laws are applied at the whim of authorities. This is not unique to Norway. Furthermore, Stoltenberg isn't a bureaucrat, he's a politician. It's in his power to do something, and he's refused to do it, seemingly out of fear of being out-immigranted by other politicians. Also, her last name is Salamova, not Sarakova.
posted by Kattullus at 5:24 PM on February 2, 2011


jb: "As for "overcrowding", that's bullshit. illegal immigrants move to get jobs. if there weren't any jobs there, they wouldn't immigrate."

I agree with you in general, but I think it's possible that in a highly-developed welfare state such as Norway, this isn't necessarily the case.

By the way, Norway allows very little actual immigration, most people who come to Norway from outside of Europe are asylum seekers. Norway hasn't had legal work immigration from outside of Europe since the seventies.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:27 PM on February 2, 2011


Norway hasn't had legal work immigration from outside of Europe since the seventies.

Funny, my permanent residency permit seems to belie this statement.

The problem is that her case was decided for her a long time ago. She arrived with her parents, and was underage, so her case was processes along with theirs. The application exhausted all possible avenues of appeal long ago, and was out of her control. This is an unfortunate result of Norwegian law not allowing for asylum seekers to take control of their own application once they come of age.

Actually, my understanding (which could be wrong, I succumbed to news fatigue about this at least a week ago), is that she in fact COULD have applied at 18, as I mentioned earlier, but chose not to, as it would have likely led to her parents being deported. Turning around and saying "I've lived here illegally for a REALLY LONG TIME so this means that you HAVE to make me a citizen." doesn't really work in any country under the rule of law, as far as I know.

As Kattullus said: Immigration laws are applied at the whim of authorities. This is a much better argument, and one that I have used successfully against 'the authorities' here before. There was a no-so-humorous incident where they granted residence permits to my entire family except our three-year-old, who was born here (while we were legal residents) over a technicality. They also stipulated that there was no possibility for an appeal. One trip to the immigration office to demonstrate what idiots they had been resulted in a residence permit being issued that same day (a process that usually takes six months or more).
posted by grajohnt at 8:47 PM on February 2, 2011


Grajohnt, I know this isn't relevant to the story, but I would love to hear what that technicality was.
posted by No-sword at 9:18 PM on February 2, 2011


To apply for permanent residency, you need to be a resident for at least three years. We didn't know this, and put her application in with the rest of the family's - one week before her third birthday.
posted by grajohnt at 9:29 PM on February 2, 2011


The follow-ups are quite gratifying. If someone could post a link to a page with the actual text of the law/regulation in Norway I would be quite interested in reading it, even slowly via a translation filter. As you can probably tell, this branch of law is a subject in which I have considerable interest. MeMail would be fine too.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:32 PM on February 2, 2011


No need for translation, they've already done the work for you. Norway's Immigration Act (PDF).

Section 62 is what we ran afoul of, "A foreign national who for the last three years has resided in the realm on a temporary residence permit that provides the basis for a permanent residence permit shall be entitled, upon application, to a permanent residence permit..."

More information and a FAQ are on the UDI page.
posted by grajohnt at 5:25 AM on February 3, 2011


grajohnt: "Norway hasn't had legal work immigration from outside of Europe since the seventies.

Funny, my permanent residency permit seems to belie this statement.
"

I'm sorry, I was probably unclear. You had a job offer before you arrived, right? By "work immigration", I really meant the phenomenon where people arrive without a work offer and then look for work when already in the country. Norway allowed this in the seventies, much like the German gastarbeiter program, and a lot of the Pakistani-Norwegian community are a result of it.

Most countries in the world allow immigration if you have a job offer that's good enough.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:36 AM on February 3, 2011


Oh, thank you grajohnt. I was more interested to review it in relation to the expulsion of this young Russian lady (which seems to have been optional rather than mandatory, but will require further examination of the rules...).

I'm struck by how....short it is. The US Immigration and Nationality Act fills an entire book in language so dense that reading it aloud can warp the fabric of space-time itself.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:43 AM on February 3, 2011


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