Over 9,000 Icelanders have signed a petition in just the past two days calling for an Albanian family to be allowed to stay in the country.
The petition, “Let the Albanian Telati family settle in Iceland”, was started two days ago by journalist and writer Illugi Jökulsson. In that time, over 9,000 Icelanders have signed the petition at the time of this writing.
“We, the undersigned, cannot fathom why the five-person Telati family from Albania are not allowed to settle here,” the petition text reads in part. “We demand as urgently as possible that the Directorate of Immigration change the decision to deport the family.”
As reported, shortly after news broke that the Directorate had failed to register the family’s three children for school, the Telatis received notice that their application for asylum in Iceland had been denied. As such, they face deportation back to Albania.
While the Directorate does not believe the family is in any immediate danger, this is based on the lack of a civil war in Albania. However, the father of Hasan, the father of the family, was a leading figure in the Communist Party in that country. This has made their lives miserable in post-communist Albania, where they are essentially outcasts in their own society, and have in fact had shots fired at their home. They were subsequently evicted, and their lives threatened.
The family can appeal for asylum, but this is a costly process, and they have to leave the country regardless, even while an appeal is still pending.
“I am scared for the future of my children,” Hasan said. “We are up against some very powerful people and my children have little hope for the future.”