Undocumented pensioner and migrant grandmother: “I’m being deported”

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In March, we wrote about the case of an over sixty-year-old disabled white undocumented migrant whose residence permit had been rejected by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) because she wanted to live with her daughter and grandchildren. 

Finland’s strict immigration policy is that it doesn’t recognize grandparents as part of the nuclear family.

A few years ago, there were two high-profile cases in the Finnish media involving grandmothers. Migri had tried to deport unsuccessfully three times a Russian citizen, Irina Antonova, who had suffered a stroke in Finland while visiting her daughter. Egyptian grandmother Eveline Fadayel was granted a residence permit after a lengthy battle with Migri officials.

In spring, when I spoke to Sheryl* the first time, she had overstayed her visit to Finland and had become an undocumented migrant. Her future in Finland was left to chance until two policemen “barged” in her home this month.

She then messaged me.

Read the full story here

After the police visited her home, Migri gave Sheryl a month to leave the country. Her passport was confiscated and Migri will only return it after she has purchased a plane ticket.  She said that she has no will to leave her daughter and family behind or the money yet to buy the plane ticket. 

Sheryl said that in North America she has no home and will try to live with friends for 90 days, when she will be able to return back o Finland. 

“We are all very upset by what happened,” she said. “I haven’t broken the news to my three grandchildren, who are 3, 5, and 6 years old. I know the news will make them cry.”

Sheryl blames Finland’s “inhumane” immigration policy for separating families.

“My daughter and her children are the only family I have,” she said. “Why can’t I stay if I’m not a drain on the system?”

*The real name of the person was changed and she spoke on condition of anonymity.