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Immigration minister Støjberg to face third parliament hearing over directive

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Immigration minister Støjberg to face third parliament hearing over directive
Inger Støjberg during the June 23rd hearing. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Scanpix
16:29 CEST+02:00
Danish Minister for Immigration Inger Støjberg will face a third round of questioning by parliamentary colleagues over the illegal asylum directive that forced her to explain herself to colleagues on two occasions earlier this year.

Støjberg’s ministry of immigration acted in February 2016 to force all under-18 asylum seekers to live in separate asylum facilities from their partners.

The directive was later found by parliament’s ombudsman to be illegal in relation to both Danish law and international conventions, since it did not provide for individual case assessments or consultations with affected parties.

Opposition parties the Social Democrats, Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre), Socialist People’s Party and Alternative have now called for Støjberg to answer questions in a parliamentary consultation for a third time, citing unanswered questions over the issue.

The new hearing will take place sometime over the coming weeks, reports Politiken.

At parliamentary consultations on June 1st and June 23rd this year, Støjberg stuck rigidly to the explanation that the text sent by her was intended as a press statement but was then used as a directive by the Danish Immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen).

A second text that took the form of a directive should have been sent but was not, Støjberg claimed at the previous hearings.

No legal assessment of the directive was made since it was considered a press statement at the time, she said.

“At the last hearing we got the minister to admit that illegal administration was performed. But according to Inger Støjberg, it was not illegal because of her directive but because of something that had been ongoing for a longer period. Following the summer break, many of us have re-read all the documentation relating to the issue, and it simply doesn’t add up,” Social Democrat spokesperson for the case Mattias Tesfaye told Politiken.

READ ALSO: Immigration minister Støjberg accused of lying in fiery parliament hearing

Ministry legal experts attempted to make clear the illegal nature of Støjberg’s press message in its guise as a directive to be sent into the ministry apparatus, according to Politiken’s report.

The newspaper reports that it was previously advised by sources within the ministry of concerted efforts by staff, in the days up to the release of the directive, to make the legal problems relating to the absence of individual assessments clear.

As such, opposition MPs again want to question Støjberg in relation to her degree of responsibility over the illegal order.

“The way I read the documents, Inger Støjberg initiated an administrative process that was illegal, even though her staffers recommended something else. That is dead serious, because laws are made by parliament. We cannot have ministers implementing their own private immigration policies. Responsibility must be placed. We cannot accept a statement into thin air that says there was an illegal act of administration and then carry on as if nothing has happened,” Tesfaye told Politiken.

The right wing Danish People’s Party, a parliamentary ally of Støjberg, has supported the immigration minister throughout the issue, thereby preventing the commissioning of an official investigation – a measure called for by several opposition parties.

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