Stories such as these are never easy, and I do not doubt that the Syrian boy and his mother would prefer to stay in Norway. However, I think it is wrong to present this story as if the family only now discovered they must leave. The family knew their asylum request was rejected a year after they arrived in Norway. It was the family's decision to fight it out and to return to Norway after they had been deported once before, and it is the family's responsibility if they did not manage to convince the Norwegian authorities of their need to be refugees.
The newspapers don't mention what grounds the family used to request asylum, and it seems that even those who support the family staying are not using 'asylum' as a reason for them to stay.
"Hamodi" came to Norway with his parents in 1999. Their asylum request was denied in 2000, and for the next few years they fought against it. In 2003 his father passed away and in 2004 Hamodi and his mother were deported back to Syria, where his father's family lives. His mother says some of the family members were against the marriage and the situation was unbearable. A year later Hamodi and his mother returned to Norway and requested asylum. Their request was denied again, since they do not fulfill the requirements for refugees.
Hamodi says he cannot read or write Arabic but I would think it would be his parents responsibility to make sure he will be able to acclimate back, should their asylum request be rejected (and it was - a year after they arrived).
As a side note, this Syrian-Palestinian was born in Syria to a Syrian (Palestinian) father and a Lebanese 'state-less' (Palestinian) mother.
Despite new laws to grant asylum to children with close ties to Norway, a Syrian boy and his mother are being ordered to leave the country.
The 15-year-old Palestinian-Syrian boy, known as "Hamodi", has lived in Norway half his life. He speaks fluent Norwegian and claims to have close Norwegian friends. On top of that, his deceased father, a Palestinian-Syrian refugee, is buried in the town of Gjøvik in eastern Norway.
Still, Norwegian immigration authorities have decided not to grant "Hamodi" and his mother asylum in Norway.
This ruling came despite recent legislation to make immigration easier for children with a strong attachment to Norway.
"It seems that the ruling contradicts the new legislation. It is surprising," said "Hamodi's" lawyer Jan Erik Mellemberg to Aftenposten.no.
The staff at the refugee centre in the town of Gjøvik, where "Hamodi" and his mother live, were also shocked by the decision of the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board, known as UNE (Utlendingsnemda).
"I don't remember much of my life before Norway," said "Hamodi" to Aftenposten.no.
"I don't know anyone in Syria, and I cannot write or read Arabic. It will be terrible to go there," he added.
But according to UNE, the 15-year-old's attachment to Norway is not strong enough to allow him to stay. The immigration authorities argue that "Hamodi" and his mother are from a culture where family ties are strong.
"He has siblings, and a number of uncles and aunts in Syria. We are not informed that he has strong ties to Norwegian places or Norwegian friends," a statement from UNE read.
In a letter to UNE, the family's lawyer is urging the immigration authorities to review "Hamodi's" case one more time.
Sources: Aftenposten (English), Aftenposten (Norwegian)