Danish Immigration to deport US expat retiree after 32 year residency in the country

Published:  6 Apr at 6 PM
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An American expat pensioner who’s lived and worked for more than half her life in Denmark is now facing deportation by the Danish immigration authority.

US citizen Mary Stuart Burgher arrived in Denmark in 1985 to work for the World Health Organisation in Copenhagen. Due to exemptions given by the Danish immigration service to international organisations such as the WHO, she was allowed to live and work in the country under a special permit.

On her retirement in 2015, she applied for residency as the special permit no longer covered her situation, but was advised three decades of residence and work wasn’t a special reason for granting a permit. Hoping for the best, she submitted her application and waited a full 19 months for a reply which should have been given within three to six months.

When the letter finally arrived, she was devastated to find her application had been refused and she had just four weeks to leave before she was deported. According to the document, there were no special circumstances which would have resulted in a residency permit.

In an interview, Mary told local media she was frightened and very upset due to the decision, as she’s made Denmark her home and would hate to leave. She has no friends and no life back in her hometown of Houston, Texas, although her two sisters still live in the city. Her apartment, friends, volunteer work and her entire life are all in Copenhagen.

In desperation, Mary contacted immigration lawyer Poul Hauch Fenger in a last-ditch attempt to be allowed to stay. Fenger believes her case comes under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which protects her right to the state’s respect for her private life.

He told reporters the legal term ‘private life’ encompasses personal dignity, autonomy, the right to interaction with others and the right to have the ‘effective enjoyment of a social life’. Mary is hoping against hope he’s right, and that Danish immigration agrees with him when her appeal is heard.

Source: CPH Post Online
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