SHARE
COPY LINK

IMMIGRATION

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

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.

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

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. 

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. 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.

  2. 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)”

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

2022 SWEDISH ELECTION

OPINION: The far right now dominates the immigration debate in Sweden

A televised debate between the party leaders last weekend showed how Sweden’s third party, the far-right Sweden Democrats, has shaped Swedish politics since the last elections four years ago, argues David Crouch

OPINION: The far right now dominates the immigration debate in Sweden

In the build-up to the 2018 elections, the world’s media descended on Stockholm, expecting a breakthrough by the Sweden Democrats (SD) who had been polling as high as 25 percent. In the end, SD took third place with around 18 percent of the vote.

Four years later, SD are hovering at around the same level in the polls. However, Swedish politics has been utterly transformed, as the other main parties have moved onto political terrain previously occupied by SD.

This would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago. When they first entered parliament, SD were treated as political pariahs, a racist party, held at arm’s length by the other parties who refused to cooperate with them in any way.

Attempts to bring the SD into the mainstream of Swedish politics fell flat. The leader of the centre-right Moderates lost her job after suggesting it was “time to stop demonising” the SD. Her replacement, Ulf Kristersson, said he would neither negotiate nor govern with them. After the elections, two smaller centre-right parties – the Centre and the Liberals – agreed to prop up the coalition of Social Democrats and Greens to prevent the SD gaining any influence in parliament.

It was clear, however, that the only chance for the centre-right to govern would be with SD support. After all, in Finland and Norway right-wing populist parties had entered government with the centre right. And in Denmark, the centre-right had governed with populist support. If it worked there, why not in Sweden?

In early 2019, the SD leader Jimmie Åkesson famously had meatballs for lunch with Ebba Busch, the leader of the tiny Christian Democrats, who acted as a bridge-builder. A few months later, Kristersson met the SD leader for the first time in his Stockholm office. By early 2021 the cordon sanitaire dividing the parties had been truly dismantled, and in the autumn the three parties presented a joint budget.

Meanwhile, the Moderates stepped up their rhetoric against immigration and crime. But perhaps the influence has worked both ways? Maybe the far-right have toned down their policies, compromising with the centre so the parties can work together?

On the contrary, Åkesson and other leading SD figures have stoked up the fire and brimstone in their anti-immigrant message. For the SD, the problem is dark-skinned immigrants from Muslim countries whose values conflict with Sweden’s and who should therefore be deported.

The response among the Moderates – and also the governing Social Democrats – has been a deafening silence.

After the Easter riots in six Swedish cities, the Social Democrat government proposed a package of coercive measures to help the police and social services crackdown on criminals.

A televised debate between the party leaders last weekend brought this out very clearly. More than that, it showed how the Sweden Democrats have shaped Swedish politics since the country last voted four years ago.

In the debate on Sunday, prime minister Magdalena Andersson talked about being tough on crime and boasted that Sweden now has one of the strictest immigration regimes in Europe.

It was left to the Green Party (polling 4 percent) and the Centre Party (6 percent) to challenge the SD on immigration. They pointed out that the violent minority is tiny, and that tens of thousands of recent immigrants hold down jobs, obey the law and contribute to Swedish society.

Centre Party leader Annie Lööf listed some of the SD’s more extreme proposals, including demolition of high-immigration neighbourhoods, dawn raids on refugees, and collective punishment for crimes committed by a single family member. This was “pure racism”, Lööf said – where were the “red lines”, beyond which the centre-right would turn against the SD?

All the parties agree that segregation along ethnic lines has gone too far in Sweden, that integration efforts have failed and that something must be done. But there is a paucity of bold ideas that could really make a difference.

Immigration will once more be a battleground at the elections in September, with key politicians competing to be the toughest in dealing with unruly “foreigners”. Meanwhile, the underlying problems that have fuelled disaffection among people with immigrant backgrounds are unlikely to be addressed.

A few weeks ago, Swedish journalist Janne Josefsson spoke to Ahmed, one of the stone-throwing youngsters who shocked the country at Easter.

“We are second class citizens. You let us in, but then Sweden doesn’t care about us,” Ahmed told him. “We are trapped here. I have studied, but will never get a good job. At least once a week we are stopped by the police. In the end, you feel hunted, like a quarry. Do you understand?”

It seems that Swedish politicians don’t really want to.

David Crouch is the author of Almost Perfekt: How Sweden Works and What Can We Learn From It. He is a freelance journalist and a lecturer in journalism at Gothenburg University.

__

Listen to a discussion on Sweden and immigration on Sweden in Focus, The Local’s podcast. 

Click HERE to listen to Sweden in Focus on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

SHOW COMMENTS