Austria: when deportations cause an outcry

Despite widespread protests, three families were deported from Austria to Georgia and Armenia on Thursday night. Friends, teachers, activists and politicians from several parties had pleaded in particular for one of the families and for a twelve-year-old, Austrian-born, secondary-school pupil to be allowed to stay.

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Die Presse (AT) /

Not everyone is entitled to stay

People without good grounds for asylum should be deported at an earlier stage, Die Presse believes:

“Legal judgments should not be the sole criterion in such cases, people on the left are saying. But in a constitutional state who, if not the courts, is to decide whether someone is allowed to stay? Politicians with grace privilege? So those who look nice and are supported by the media get to stay while it's just tough luck for others? That would be leaving things to blind chance and not the rule of law. ... The lesson that the state can draw from this case isn't really new: namely, to streamline proceedings and deport those who stand no chance of receiving asylum more quickly. ... The state must find the time and resources to apply the law carefully. But at the same time it mustn't let itself be led by the nose by those with no grounds for asylum until the point where everyone is allowed to stay.”

Wiener Zeitung (AT) /

A dilemma for the state

It's hard to find the right balance between implementing the law and compassion, writes the Wiener Zeitung:

“Legally, the situation is clear. The asylum applications of these families were rejected by numerous courts; the attempts of the authorities to enforce the court decisions were evaded for years. The advocates of a humanitarian solution cite the welfare of the children, some of whom were born here. The emphasis on the best interests of the children could have served as a legal loophole - a viable solution in individual cases of humanitarianism. When it enforces the law, however, a state must also consider the potential consequences of its decision. ... Activists don't need to worry about that, for them it's the fate of the individual that counts. ... In this conflict between 'the law must remain the law' and 'people's fates are at stake here' there is no simple solution.”