Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Schengen igen..... Schengen again

disclaimer: I hate blogs that are negative and complain but today I admit I fell into that category... But my falling did not happen without a great deal of thought and research. However even after reading snd researching this topic extensively, I still cannot understand it so I am hoping someone wiser and more discerning than I am can shed some light of reason on this....and help me understand.

Jeg ville at vente til jeg var hjemme igen, før jeg skrev om min grund for blogging om Schengen Samarbejdet. (og venter til jeg var ikke så sur...lol. Men jeg er STADIG sur så jeg skriver alligevel fordi jeg er sikker på at min vred går ikke væk!) Kan du huske hvad jeg skrev om Schengen Samarbejdet?

I wanted to wait until I got home to write about my reasons for blogging about the Schengen Agreement. (and wait until I was not so angry....lol. However I am STILL angry so I figured I would write anyway as I am not sure this anger is going away!) Can you remember what I wrote about the Schengen Agreement?

Da vi kom til havnen for at rejse til London sidste uge, oplevede vi noget skrækkelig! Efter min mening, var det et STORT EKSEMPEL af diskrimination. Jeg tog 28 elever til London så vi var 29 i alt.... 25 var født i Danmark, 1 var født i Holland, 1 var født i Iran, 1 var født i Somalia og 1 var født i Amerika. Så 25 har danske pas og 4 (inklusiv mig) har den samme opholdtilladelse i vores pas.

When we arrived at the harbor last week for our ferry trip to London, we experienced something awful! And it was, in my opinion, a HUGE EXAMPLE of discrimination. I took 28 students to London, so we were 29 in all.... 25 of them were born in Denmark, 1 was born in Holland, 1 in Iran, 1 in Somalia, and 1 in America. This means that 25 have Danish passports and 4 (including me) have the same "Residents Permit" in our passports.


Min elev som var født i Holland havde ingen problemer da hun gik igennem paskontrol i havnen, men da mine 2 elever fra Iran og Somalia gik op til paskontrol, var de fortalt at de kan ikke rejse til Storbrittain uden visa. Jeg vidste deres opholdtilladelse til manden i paskontrol (for at vise at de er permanent beboer af Danmark og EU) og jeg viste ham at deres var den samme som min og han sagde jeg kan rejse....de kan ikke. HVORFOR?????

My student from Holland had no problems when she went through passport control at the harbor; however, when my 2 kiddoes from Iran and Somalia attempted to pass through, they were told they could not go to the UK without a visa. I showed the passport officer their Resident Permit, showing they were permanent residents of Denmark (and of the EU) and I showed him that their permit was the very same as mine. But he said I could go to the UK....they could not. WHY????

Han ringede til Britisk Ambassade og forklarede til dem om vores situation men de SAGDE NEJ. Mennesker fra en "non Western" land (især islamisk lande) kunne ikke rejse til Storbrittain uden visa (selvom de bor i et EU land). De kan rejse til ALLE ANDRE LANDE i EU men IKKE til Storbrittain. Og grunden er Schengen Samarbejdet.

He called to the British Embassy, explaining our situation, but they said NO. People from "non western" countries (especially Islamic countries) are not allowed to come to the UK without a Visa (even if they are residents of an EU country!) They can travel to ALL OTHER COUNTRIES in the EU, but NOT to the UK. And the reason is the Schengen Agreement.

Lang historie kort.... skolen fik en visa til elever imens vi rejste med færgen og vores uddannelseleder fløj til London med dem og afleveret dem til mig så de oplevede de meste af turen.... MEN.....

Long story short... the school was able to obtain visas for the 2 students while we were on the ferry so on Monday morning our Curriculum Coordinator flew to London to deliver them to me....so they did not miss much of the trip..... BUT.....

Jeg kan forstå Storbrittains regler vedr husdyr og karantæne....
Jeg kan forstå Storbrittains regler vedr visa til besøgender som bor uden EU....
MEN jeg kan IKKE forstå hvor mine 2 elever er gode nok for at bo i Danmark men gode ikke nok for at rejse til England (undtagen de har en visa).... Kan du forestille hvor mine 2 elever følte så de hørte dette? Især fordi en pige i foran mine elever havde en pas som var udløbet.... OG paskontrol tillod hende at rejse... med en udløbet pas.... (forskellen er at hun var en dansk statsborger)... Hvad besked sender Storbrittain til verden? Til mennesker som er "uheldig nok" for at blive født i en "non Western" land? Så Schengen Samarbejdet er godt nok for alle andre 26 EU lande....undtagen Storbrittain.

I can understand the UK's rules about pets and quarantine...
I can understand the UK's rules about visas for visitors who live outside the EU....
BUT I canNOT understand how my 2 students are good enough to live in Denmark but not good enough to travel to England (unless they get a pre-approved visa) Can you imagine how those two girls felt that day when they heard this? Especially as we stood there and watched a girl with an expired passport be allowed to travel (the difference is that she is a Danish citizen).... What message is the UK sending to the world? And to people who are "unlucky enough" to have been born in a non-Western country? So that Schengen Agreement is good enough for all other 26 EU nations....just not good enough for the UK.


Den sjøveste ting er at mine elevers opgave i London var at holde "gade interviews" med mennesker for at finde ud deres meninger om immigration i Storbrittain....

The funny thing is that my students' task while they were in London was to conduct "street interviews" with random people to find out the various opinions about immigration in the UK....

8 comments:

O said...

I follow your blog from france, and I am interested in your view on europe. I have lived in the US and now I am back in my homeland. I understand your frustrations, but there is a difference with international law and immigration between residency and citizenship. It makes the whole difference. Schengen agreement is based on citizenship of european countries. It is similar with some regulations in the USA, I was a resident of the USA, lived there, paid my taxes there but at the airport I was treated like any tourists entering the country. They made a difference between residents and citizens (and not in a nice way if I may say). The schengen agreement is not really applied in England anyway; because as a french citizen I can go to any country in europe without passport, but England doesn't allow this. I need to show passport there also. Opening borders was a good thing but we needed some regulations because it has made more difficult to control drug traffic for example. This is why non-citizen of european union need a visa, because otherwise everyone would be able to enter any country, without any control. The one thing I don't understand is why the school didn't check this before, the poor girls must have felt so bad. I think England has different rules because one of my friend was from turkey and had a student visa and he was able to visit Spain, and he didn't need another visa, the french one allowed him to visit Europe. The real question is why England has entered the EU when they have special rules, they rejected the currency for example as Denmark. They get the benefits of EU but want special rules.

Mads and Kelli said...

O- thanks for the extra explanation... I spent hours on the ferry over to London researching about the Schengen agreement and talking to Mads about the history behind it and although I understand it a lot better now, I am still not totally clear.

I do understand about the drug traffiking.. and I TOTALLY understand about how other countries treat foreigners (I see it in the US WAY too often and it embarrasses me!) but I just cannot understand the logic behind this... These 2 girls have lived in DK for more than 12 years each.... so they have permanent residency, but like me, would never give up their national citizenship to be a Danish citizen... I just hated standing there seeing them denied access when we have the same exact sticker in our passports....
it just seems SO unjust.

And the school did its job in getting the visas for all foreign born kids traveling last week, but somehow they did not get transferred to the right people prior to our departure. That was why it was so easy to fly them out just 36 hours later.... It was a mix up between offices , but had it not happened, I would never have found out about this.....

BABS said...

I am amazed the British Embassy said "People from "non western" countries (especially Islamic countries) are not allowed to come to the UK without a Visa.."

The 'especially Islamic countries' statement would give you reasonable cause for complaint, and you probably should lodge a complaint on behalf of your students. I agree with you, it is utterly wrong to discriminate against children from 'Islamic Countries' and it is understandable that you are angry.

It's also really weird that they let an American (non EU) adult in without a visa but refused two non EU children who said American was responsible for. Something just doesn't add up here, and you are right to want to make a stand.

Probably best to look on the bright side and be glad that everybody got their papers sorted in the end, albeit some later than others. This shows that some cases are special and need to be treated as such, perhaps with special advanced effort to make sure things go right. *shrugs* At least the next time the same won't happen again. Prior research is everything but doesn't cover every eventuality. I am so sorry for the two pupils who were put in a position where they were standing there being humiliated.

The UK is not in the EU heart and soul, as I like to joke "England isn't in Europe!" (In fact many Brits would be insulted if you called them European)as this kind of experience teaches us.

May said...

*nods*
It is odd. It would make sense if it was EU versus non-EU, but with two Americans going through without problems...

I was stopped in Amsterdam a couple of years ago, because my passport looked "fishy"...Nothing wrong with the passport obviously and I'm betting that the fishy part was name combination, my looks, and a Danish passport issued outside of Denmark, but honestly...if I wanted to fake a passport wouldn't I have attempted to make it look as regular as possible? ;)

LadyFi said...

Oh, that's terrible. I read what O wrote about the difference legally between residency and citizenship... but as Babs pointed out, then you shouldn't have been allowed in either.

After 9/11, all sorts of 'anti-terrorist' laws have been allowed and as you say, they are downright discriminatory!

I'd be interested to find out what your students' surveys showed about British attitudes to immigration.

As an ex-pat Brit, I'm ashamed by the humiliation these two students had to endure. Please tell me that not all of us think like that!

Nina Ø said...

The Schengen Agreement exists and is a law. You were a participant where your students were not screened ahead of time as to whether they were affected by this agreement. The communication broke down in Denmark at the school level. That is the cause. It is that simple. Whether we agree with the Schengen Agreement is irrelevant. Children and their parents obviously are not up on international travel. The person who was responsible for the logistics of your international trip needed to screen each child for their clearance to travel to Uk based on who they were. I hope the trip was a success even if it started out lamely. Your students can learn something here. "Do your own homework. Do not leave something as important as leaving the country to someone else."

Mads and Kelli said...

Nina, I know what you say is right and the office at the school realized the mistake... which was why everyone worked so fast to get it handled and flew the kids out to us...

but had that not happened, I would never have found out about this... and it really bothers me. I cannot understand the logic behind it at all.
And the more I read about it, the more confused and frustrated I get.....

rye said...

i am from philippines but residing in denmark. i have permanent residence permit, yet i am a philippine passport holder. and it pisses me off when my husband and kids (danish pass holder) doesnt need any visa going to UK but i need to secure a visa because i am not an EU passport holder.