Jan
31

If it’s good enough for Denmark and Sweden….

By

Border crossing between Russia and Norway near Kirkenes
By Elmar78 (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bernie Sanders is fond of citing examples from Europe of the benefits of democratic socialism. Denmark and Sweden, for example. Yet Sanders’ conservative critics sneer at America taking policy cues from Europe. Except when they do. Like now.

Denmark approved a controversial plan to pay for the upkeep of asylum seekers by confiscating valuables in excess of about $1,500:

The bill has been widely criticised by human rights groups.

The prospect of refugees having possessions seized has drawn comparisons to the confiscation of valuables from Jews during World War Two.

The government has said that items of sentimental value, such as wedding rings, will be exempt. It also raised the amount refugees will be allowed to keep from 3,000 kroner to 10,000 following objections.

Sweden and Finland announced plans last week to join Norway in deporting tens of thousands of people seeking asylum from war in the Middle East. They are poised to begin the kind of wholesale deportation of immigrants that Donald Trump has proposed for the United States.


Two weeks ago Norway began busing asylum seekers to the Russian border in temperatures near 30 degrees below zero:

Norway’s tough new asylum policy was adopted by a broad majority in parliament last year after more than 5,500 asylum seekers cycled to Norway from Russia through the border at Storskog – a safer and cheaper route than risking a rubber boat in the Mediterranean. Some 30,000 people claimed asylum in Norway in 2015.

However, the UN warned last week that Norway was likely to be in breach of the UN refugee convention.

“They can end up in a no man’s land where they risk freezing to death,” Vincent Cochetel, the UN high commissioner for refugees’ regional coordinator in Europe, said last week. “There are large cracks in the Russian asylum system. We believe Norway is wrong to regard Russia as a safe country for people who need protection.”

Sweden is preparing to eject up to half the asylum seekers that reached there last year:

The interior ministry has called on police and migration authorities to prepare for a sharp increase in deportations, and to arrange charter flights to expel refused asylum seekers to their country of origin. Sweden is also approaching other EU countries, including Germany, to discuss cooperation to increase efficiency and make sure flights are filled to capacity, it said.

On Thursday Finland’s interior minister said Helsinki also intended to expel about 20,000 of the 32,000 asylum seekers it received in 2015. “In principle we speak of about two-thirds, meaning approximately 65 percent of the 32,000 will get a negative decision (to their asylum application),” Paivi Nerg, the ministry’s administrative director, told Agence France-Presse.

Sweden received more than 160,000 asylum applications last year – by far the biggest influx in the EU as a proportion of the population. Between 60,000 and 80,000 of them will be rejected, the interior minister, Anders Ygeman, told Swedish media on Thursday.

Of course, the responses from commenters on sites such as Townhall and Gateway Pundit are gleeful. (Sorry, not providing links.) It’s all good if America emulates Europe when it comes to authoritarian crackdowns.

Friday night in Stockholm, a gang of masked men handed out leaflets targeting migrants days after the stabbing death of a 22-year-old female worker at a center serving asylum-seeking minors. Al Jazeera reports:

The leaflets handed out on Friday night, which were confirmed by police as being the same as were posted on Swedish social media, said, “When Swedish streets are no longer safe for ordinary Swedes it is our DUTY to fix the problem … Today, therefore, 200 Swedish men gathered to make a statement against the North African ‘street children’ who are ranging around the capital’s central station.

“The police have amply shown that it lacks the means to rein them in and we now see no alternative than for us to mete out the punishment they deserve.”

Police have not confirmed reports of violence against people thought to be migrants.

Associated Press reports from England:

Police in the port of Dover on the English Channel say there were arrests and injuries connected to a protest organized by far-right groups opposed to immigration into Britain.

The demonstration by the National Front and the South East Alliance was met with a counter-rally organized by two groups of opponents: Dover Stand Up to Racism and the Kent Anti-Racism Network.

A strong police deployment largely kept the peace but there was pushing and shoving throughout the day. Some bricks and smoke bombs were thrown.

So perhaps prior to the November elections in this country, Americans will get to see what deporting tens of thousands of migrants and refugees really looks like, not just in theory, but in practice. Of course, if we put Donald Trump in charge, Americans deportations will be in the millions, not wimpy and girlish, like those in Scandinavia. They will be massive, Yuge. But fair and humane, right? Something to bring a patriotic tear to your eye.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

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