Constitutional Court head ‘worried’ about immigration police’s actions

Federal Constitutional Court (VfGH) President Gerhart Holzinger has said the way immigration police acted in deporting eight-year-old twins was “sad and worrying”.NGOs were infuriated when dozens of armed WEGA police unit officers surrounded the Viennese apartment twin sisters Dorentinya and Daniela and their father Augustin Komani stayed in last week to await their deportation.The family fled to Austria from civil war-stricken Kosovo in 2004 and were put on a flight to Kosovan capital Pristina last Friday when their most recent application for residence permit was rejected. Officials came under fire for carrying out the deportation while family mum Vera was in a clinic after a nervous breakdown. The woman is still hospitalised as doctors fear she might kill herself.NGO staff described the family as “more than integrated” in the Upper Austrian town of Steyr. They stressed Augustin was working as a gardener while the girls went to school, adding all of them spoke fluent German.People’s Party (ÖVP) Interior Minister defended the way police acted as “correct and family-adequate”, while NGO workers pointed out the girls were unable to pack anything up and even denied time to grab their teddy bears before being taken to a detention centre to spend their final 24 hours in Austria before leaving for Kosovo.Holzinger said today he was “very affected” about the occurrences. He criticised police “showed little tact and sensitivity”.The VfGH chief stressed he hoped Fekter would carry out the planned reforms of deportation procedures soon. The interior minister explained earlier this week she would ensure police will consult human rights experts and NGOs more often before a family were deported. Fekter further said she had been “hurt and burdened” by what happened.Holzinger pointed out he was unable to estimate whether the family deserved humanitarian stay in Austria, but said the way police dealt was “sad and worrying”. He stressed it should be common sense not to send uniformed officers to pick up young children being deported.Liberal Forum (LiF) founder Heide Schmidt said she was “disgusted” by politicians referring to disputed laws they had passed themselves when deporting well-integrated families.Greens leader Eva Glawischnig said it was “absurd” that the government deported integrated citizens while calling for more qualified foreigners to come and settle in Austria. Glawischnig referred to ÖVP Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger who recently suggested to introduction of a “Red-White-Red Card” to encourage more skilled foreigners to move to Austria to boost the country’s economy.Juridical authorities dealing with asylum applications have stressed for years they were lacking staff to being able to deal with the increasing number of cases. These developments have led to a soaring number of immigrants integrating well in Austria before being informed years after their arrival that their application for asylum has been rejected.