« Zarmena Waziri’s dementia is so severe that when she recently ate an orange she forgot to swallow and nearly choked to death. She has suffered multiple strokes, has high blood pressure and wears a diaper.
Now, in a case that has captured headlines across Denmark, the Danish authorities have called for Mrs. Waziri, a 70-year-old Afghan woman, to be deported to Afghanistan, where, her children say, she is sure to die.
Her daughter Marzia, her main caregiver, has lived in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, for 25 years and owns a small grocery business. Marzia’s two children are Danish citizens.
“I live in constant fear that I am going to come home and find that the door has been knocked down and that my mother is gone,” said Ms. Waziri, who spoke fluent Danish and was close to tears. “She wouldn’t last a day in Afghanistan. She has no one there.”
The Danish authorities counter that the decision to deport Mrs. Waziri is of her own making : She broke the law. Since November 2012, her various applications to remain in the country have been rejected three times, and she has disregarded every order to leave. »
« Human rights advocates say humanitarian imperatives should trump legal considerations. The case is now under review. »
The idea of breaking up families, separating mother and child, especially expelling a family member who absolutely needs the support of the family network in order to survive, is so repulsive. The heartlessness of it all shows how, in many countries, migration policies are still being adopted and implemented just like any other policy, treating persons like packages to be moved, when individual circumstances and needs should always be key factors when one deals with human beings, with families, with children. It is also shooting oneself in the foot and destroying integration efforts for thousands of citizens of foreign origin. What is the value of 25 years of integration if the ailing grandmother is expelled like a criminal ? How will her Danish grandchildren feel towards their own State ? Populism is sowing the seeds of fractured societies, rather than bringing everyone on board whatever their origin.
To read the full article in the New York Times, please click here.