The son of Danish prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen felt the brunt of the nation’s stricter immigration policies this week. Bergur Rasmussen will be forced to see his 22-year old American girlfriend Aran Katarina Kirschenmann sent back to the United States due to the “child bride law,” which restricts marriages to migrant spouses under the age of 24.
According to Girls Not Brides, a women’s advocate organization:
In 2015 the CEDAW Committee raised concerns that Denmark’s efforts to combat forced marriage among migrants, including requiring spouses to be at least 24 years of age during reunification cases, restricts women’s rights to family life.
Here’s what you need to know about the situation and Kirschenmann.
1. The Law Probably Won’t Change Anytime Soon
Rasmussen is a center-right politician who has accepted large amounts of support from the populist Danish People’s Party, according to Bloomberg. In an effort to increase Danish nationalism, the coalition between Rasmussen and right-wing groups has led to the current immigration policies.
In the wake of the deportation news about Kirschenmann, as well as recent labor shortages, the Prime Minister has tried to reach across the aisle for compromise on the law. According to Bloomberg, that hand has been slapped away for now.
The prime minister said he stands behind the rule and tougher immigration generally. But he also criticized the lack of flexibility in the current immigration laws, particularly as Danish businesses face a labor shortage and are desperate for highly educated immigrants. “It’s to wonder at, that we live in a country that has no place for her,” Rasmussen said.
In response, Mette Frederiksen, head of the opposition Social Democrats, said the rule carries “a price” and rejected efforts to soften it.
Frederiksen is battling Rasmussen for his seat on June 5, and is projected to win. She held a healthy lead at the beginning of the month, which has continued over the ensuing weeks. She holds strict views on immigration, as well.
That means that Aran’s best hope to see a future marriage to Bergur is to wait a couple of years until she is of age in Denmark.
2. She Was in Denmark for Her Studies Through Harvard
According to her LinkedIn page, she is finishing up her studies at Harvard with dual majors in Economics and Psychology. She was in Denmark through a study abroad program with the University of Copenhagen.
Though her page states that she is from the Greater Los Angeles area, she graduated from Bellevue Senior High School in 2014. She lists involvement with the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society and Junior Statesmen of America.
The Daily Mail states that Bergur attended Harvard in 2015. The earliest picture of them on his Instagram shows the couple on a date at the Hollywood Bowl in 2017. Bergur, who is now 29, is running for a seat in European Parliament and had made public appearances with Aran.
3. She Works as a Group Affairs & Communications Coordinator for a Copenhagen-based PR Firm
Per her LinkedIn page, she started a job this April as Group Affairs & Communications Coordinator for Rud Pedersen Public Affairs in Copenhagen. It is unclear if she will be able to do this job remotely. The firm’s site states:
Rud Pedersen is one of the largest Nordic consultancies specializing in the field of public affairs, now with offices in Brussels and Tallinn, Estonia.
As a Public Affairs Partner, we help our clients navigate political systems. Our core competences are to understand, analyse and explain society, developments and systems, as well as helping clients by providing an in-depth understanding of public debate and decision-making processes.
Her first work experience in Denmark came back in August 2017 as a Social Media Consultant for the Danish non-profit foundation LøkkeFonden.
She also has an internship with Pray.com, a social impact company that connects people of different faiths.
4. She Has Over 111,000 Instagram Followers
She has her own website that is devoted to personal travel and lifestyle. She also works with Instagram to promote brands products through paid sponsorship. Her followership is currently over 111,000. The website is currently down.
You can see a sampling of her content through her public Facebook page. She has videos of her traveling through various European countries, including a video of her trip to Austria and Liechtenstein.
She hasn’t posted on the page since April 2018.
5. She Studied Abroad in South Africa in 2016
One of her bigger commitments during her time at Harvard came in 2016 when she spent three months studying abroad in South Africa. As part of the South Africa Study Abroad Program, her focus was:
Investigating South Africa’s experience as a new democracy; the cultural, economic, and political past-and-present of its indigenous populations; and what its contemporary history has to teach the world at large about a range of critical social issues. Intensive coursework and proseminar, including lectures by major South African public intellectuals and excursions to sites of historical and cultural significance.
One of her more striking pictures is of her in between two lions, presumably from that trip (though the post date is Dec. 2018).