Issuing a return decision for a family could have significant impact on the development of children who are fully integrated and identify with Polish society and its culture. Protecting children’s rights, as well as their right to family life requires a whole family to be issued a residence permit for humanitarian reasons.

The Commander of the Border Guard Warsaw-Okęcie issued a residence permit for humanitarian reasons to two families represented by the Association for Legal Intervention (case no: NW-WA/199/D-ZPH/2020, NW-WA/212/D-ZPH/2020).

In both cases, migrants applied for residence permit for humanitarian reasons based on their children’s integration into Polish society and constant need for intense physiotherapy of the disabled children.

One of the cases was re-examined by the Border Guard for the second time. Previously, the Head of the Office for Foreigners remanded the deportation case back to the Border Guard.

During the first examination of the case, the Border Guard established that the whole family can return to Chechnya. However, the Border Guard failed to establish the level of children’s integration into Polish society, their anxiety and risks to their psychophysical state in case of return. The Head of the Office for Foreigners agreed with the position of the Association for Legal Intervention and held that the Border Guard violated the obligation to take into account the best interest of children. In consequence, the case was remanded back to the authority of first instance.

In both cases, according to expert opinions (both psychological and pedagogical) requested by the Boarder Guard, the return of families to their country of origin would significantly, negatively impact the psychophysical state of children. The expert opinions highlighted high degree of integration of children into Polish society. Moreover, in both cases, physicians indicated that children needed constant, regular physiotherapy.

The Border Guard highlighted in its decision that:

Taking into account the current development stage of children (…) it should be established that deportation could have a significant impact on their well-being, could lead to violating family ties and children’s rights (…) The aforementioned is confirmed by the fact that both children do not have any experience in living in any other country than Poland and therefore can only identify with Polish society and its culture (decision of the Commander of the Border Guard Warsaw-Okęcie, case no: NW-WA/199/D-ZPH/2020)

In the first case, migrants were represented by Aleksandra Pulchny from the Association for Legal Intervention. In the second case, the Association participated in the proceedings as the social organization. The Association was represented by Aleksandra Pulchny.