Naharnet

Deported Roma Girl's Parents Try Again for French Residency

The parents of a Roma schoolgirl whose deportation from France sparked a furor and rocked the government have again applied for French residency, their lawyer said.

Leonarda Dibrani, 15, was deported to Kosovo earlier this month along with her parents and siblings. Her case triggered outrage as she was taken by the authorities while she was on a school trip.

The family lawyer Brigitte Bertin said she had applied Monday for a "carte de sejour" -- or residency permit -- for the Dibranis at an administrative court.

Their previous request for a permit had been denied and had led to their deportation. A hearing will take place within three months.

The deportation of Leonarda had triggered mass student protests demanding that she be allowed to come back and continue her studies.

The backlash landed the popular interior minister in hot water and eventually forced President Francois Hollande into a much-criticized compromise that would allow just Leonarda back but not the rest of her family.

A formal probe into the deportation found it was lawful but that police could have used better judgement in the way they handled it.

Leonarda's father Resat, who is of Kosovan origin, had admitted to lying and saying his entire family was from the former Serbian province, which proclaimed independence from Belgrade in 2008.

But the mother and most of the siblings were actually born in Italy, from where they illegally entered France in January 2009.

Resat also provided a forged marriage certificate to try to win asylum in France, which had been refused several times.

The right-wing opposition has argued that Hollande's gesture will only help the anti-immigration far-right National Front party whose popularity has surged partly due to growing discontent over the presence of illegal Roma camps on the fringes of French cities and towns.

Source: Agence France Presse


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