Kjeld Gaard-Frederiksen, who lives with his wife Zhan Xu and stepdaughter Yiming in the town of Silkeborg, told local news media TV Midtvest that he was facing the decision of having to leave the country.
“If this decision is not changed then I don’t see any other option than us moving abroad, which means I am de facto deported from my own country,” he said.
Gaard-Frederiksen met his wife, who is from China, while posted abroad with the Danish military.
After the pair married they moved to Denmark in September 2016 with Yiming, who applied for family reunification.
The application was rejected by the Danish Immigration Service, which stated that Yiming would not be able to “achieve the necessary attachment to Denmark that is required for a successful integration,” according to TV Midtvest’s report.
“If Yiming isn’t integrated, the word should be removed from the Danish dictionary. She has learned Danish impressively fast and socially she’s also doing well, which the huge support from the school’s students and children shows,” Gaard-Frederiksen said to the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, referring to a petition started by the girl's classmates.
Underskriftsindsamling for udvist 13-årig https://t.co/pswxctdFWX
— TV MIDTVEST (@tvmidtvest) May 30, 2017
The girl’s mother and stepfather have appealed against the immigration authority's decision, which takes effect on May 31st – just seven days after notice was given to the family.
“We think she’s already integrated. Because being integrated means being part of a community, and that the community sees her as being a part of it. And that is in fact what we think,” said Claes Pedersen, head teacher at Yiming’s school, to TV Midtvest.
Gaard-Frederiksen said that he did not foresee that his daughter would be denied residence in Denmark with her parent and guardian.
“I never imagined it. I am married to her mother, her mother has full custody, and it is a 13-year-old child. I could never have predicted this,” he said.
“This decision is splitting the family,” added Gaard-Frederiksen, who has two children in Denmark from a previous marriage.
“In China I go to school alone. I don’t have my mother, I don’t have my father [Gaard-Frederiksen, ed.]. I came to Denmark, where I have my mother, my father, my elder brothers and my friends. I have a lot here,” Yiming told TV Midtvest.
Yiming, who gave an interview with the local news station in Danish, is currently in a 6th grade class for some subjects and a beginner class for Danish, according to the report. She has been scheduled to join a normal 7th grade class after the summer holiday.