This picture has been on my mind all day.......... I read their story this morning before I went to work and I just cannot stop thinking about them.
We have all talked so much the last two weeks about the new proposed immigration policies that are on their way to Denmark...and in fact by tomorrow, they may actually be law...
But today I have not been concerned about policies or points or politicians...
today all I can think about are people.
Loren David Neufeldt (an American man) and Michelle Hilden (his Danish wife).
They have been married 9 years and have lived in Denmark the last 3 years.
He has had his temporary residency permit (just like mine), passed his Danish language exam (just like me), and has a job in the Danish workforce (just like me).
In May they were supposed to apply for his residency renewal.
The process says that you CANNOT apply more than 60 days before your day runs out, but you must apply NO LESS than 30 days before it runs out; so yeah, tiny little window.
Well, they missed the deadline.
And this week they received a letter.
They received a letter telling Loren that he has 48 hours to GET OUT OF DENMARK.
No call from his "kommune socialrådgiver"; no reminder in the mail about the missed deadline; no second chance although he has jumped through EVERY OTHER HOOP that the country has asked of him.
Yes, they made a mistake; they missed a deadline....an important deadline. But THEY ARE PEOPLE. PEOPLE WITH A LIFE HERE.
I have many friends who are expats here; expats from other EU countries. Expats who don't have to worry about those paperwork deadliness. But today my mind has been on my other American, Canadian, and Brazilian friends who are married Danes ....those of us NOT from EU countries, and some in our group have missed their paperwork renewal deadline in the past, hurrying to get things turned in so that their file would be in order again. I sent an email to some of them today, suggesting that we create our own "EXPAT CARE GROUP" with each other....knowing each other's deadlines for residency renewal and making sure we don't let each other forget.
Because I am sure that this time last week, Loren and Michelle NEVER DREAMED this could happen to them.....
They are not policies or subjects of a point system.
They are people.