Thousands protest against deportation of 3-year-old from Sweden

Thousands protest against deportation of 3-year-old from Sweden
The Migration Agency has refused to grant the boy a residence permit, although he has lived all his life in Sweden. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT
A three-year-old boy who has lived his whole life in Skåne now faces deportation to Nigeria, and the Migration Agency has rejected an appeal. More than 130,000 people have signed a petition calling for the boy to be allowed to stay.

The boy was taken into care by Swedish social services at just 11 days old, and has lived with the same foster family in Österlen, Skåne since the age of four months, as Dagens Nyheter was first to report. His mother has since been deported to her home country of Nigeria and the boy’s father is unknown.

According to Swedish courts, the boy’s biological mother is unable to take care of him, but they also believe that he has family in Nigeria who could look after him. 

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His foster parents have questioned the decision to deport the toddler to a country he has never been to, when he has spent almost all his life as part of their family.

“If he is expelled, he risks ending up in an orphanage, in a country he has never been to, among people he does not know. How can this compare to [being part of] a family in Sweden? He is our family member,” the boy’s foster mother told Kvällsposten.

The Swedish Migration Agency and Migration Court have denied the three-year-old a Swedish residence permit, and the Migration Court of Appeal has denied an appeal.

“He is like any other three-year-old, he challenges us, likes to play with his siblings – a super lovely kid who learns very quickly,” the foster mother said.

Since receiving the decision, the family have been working with children’s rights organisations to raise awareness of the case, and more than 130,000 people have signed a petition calling for the deportation order to be overturned.

Sweden has previously overturned decisions to deport children, including in the case of a six-year-old legal orphan who lived with his grandparents in Sweden. In that instance, the agency admitted it had acted “too quickly” in its initial decision. And a two-year-old girl living in a foster home in Skåne received a deportation order in 2012, but three years later was granted permanent residence in Sweden and allowed to stay.


Member comments

  1. Hi PCSWE,

    Thanks for the information. It does indeed sound a little harsh. I guess people are seeking a little compassion here, and in this case I tend to agree.

    However, Sweden and other nations need to be careful not to create, even inadvertently, a “birthing industry” like that in the United States and Canada whereby anyone born in the nation is immediately a citizen, regardless of their connection to the nation.

    Such birthright laws lead to all sort of unintended consequences and problems, including rogue actors who establish businesses to bring pregnant mothers into the country a few months before their due date, illegal immigrants running over the border to give birth on American soil at enormous costs to the taxpayer, and enormous risks to the child who is often delivered in “unsafe” circumstances, emergency calls to the police, fire and ambulance service when the mother enters labour (to document the birth by emergency services personal) and of course a massive overseas citizenry when many or most of those born in the nation are returned home with the mother right after receiving their papers (these people stand up 20 years later and demand protection and other rights, despite having no connection to the homeland except that their mother slipped into the nation for childbirth, and their birth certificate).

    However, having said that, like everyone else this does seem like sad situation for everyone involved and sometimes it seems like exemptions on compassionate grounds should be considered or granted.

    1. Statistics on these statements? How often does this actually happen? An individual’s assertions or personal experiences can not be used as proof of generalities.

      “Such birthright laws lead to all sort of unintended consequences and problems, including rogue actors who establish businesses to bring pregnant mothers into the country a few months before their due date, illegal immigrants running over the border to give birth on American soil at enormous costs to the taxpayer, and enormous risks to the child who is often delivered in “unsafe” circumstances, emergency calls to the police, fire and ambulance service when the mother enters labour (to document the birth by emergency services personal) and of course a massive overseas citizenry when many or most of those born in the nation are returned home with the mother right after receiving their papers (these people stand up 20 years later and demand protection and other rights, despite having no connection to the homeland except that their mother slipped into the nation for childbirth, and their birth certificate)”

  2. The article doesn’t provide any background. Where was he born? How did he get to Sweden? What are the laws regarding birth and citizenship in Sweden? Honest questions.

    1. From SVT News: “Tim was born in Helsingborg in 2018 and was eleven days old when he was taken care of by the Social Services. The mother, who comes from Nigeria, was not considered capable of taking care of him, and the father was unknown. He was then placed in a family home on Österlen in Skåne. He still lives there today with his foster mother Sandra Persson”.

      On the other point: A child born after 1 April 2015 acquires Swedish citizenship automatically if either; one of the parents is a Swedish citizen at the time of the child’s birth, or, a deceased parent of the child was a Swedish citizen upon their death. “Father unknown” = no automatic rights.

      I guess it’s the case that someone (social services?) should have regularised citizenship but they did not and a real question is how did Migrationsverket get on the case of a 3 year old boy anyway, are they hunting down kids to expel them now? In any event, it is a lamentable situation best resolved by the boy being adopted in Sweden to continue his life there. One wonders also why that has not happened 3 years into a fostering relationship.

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