Sweden Debates Immigration Implications

While other NYT article mock how Trump’s Sweden reference ‘baffles a nation’, another NYT article takes a slightly different tack (“Sweden, Nation of Open Arms, Debates Implications of Immigration”).

[R]ecently Swedes also find themselves questioning the wisdom of their generosity to outsiders in need, and its potential limits, leading to the country’s harshest debate ever over immigration.

Some residents see the clash as a refreshing chance to voice long-held concerns over immigration and its effects. Others see it as both racist and redundant, since Sweden is already changing its immigration policies.

Swedes are not rushing to a hard-line Trump-like approach to immigration, nor are they ready to throw out their country’s humanitarian values when it comes to sheltering refugees, values that remain firmly rooted in the national psyche.

Until a year and a half ago, Sweden offered lifetime protection, along with family reunification, to people deemed legitimate refugees. In 2015, about 163,000 people came and sought that protection, and the sheer numbers led this country of roughly 10 million to tighten the rules. Protection is now subject to review after one or three years and family reunification is more difficult, making Sweden less accessible and less attractive to immigrants.

There’s a few professorial quotes, when read between the lines, doesn’t exactly support the ‘Everything is fine in Sweden’ mantra:

Daniel Schatz, a scholar at Columbia University’s European Institute, points to growing racial hatred brewing in Sweden:

“Sweden has been a top recipient of asylum seekers per capita in Europe, priding itself on a humanitarian approach to immigration,”…

“Sweden is experiencing a clash of ideals,” he added. “While the country seeks to maintain a humanitarian ideal, public concerns around immigration have begun to shift the politics of traditionally liberal Sweden to tighter immigration controls and more restrictive policies. The debate on migration is thus a very personal one for many Swedes.”…

Manne Gerell, a lecturer in criminology with Malmo University, said more immigrants than Swedes commit crimes, but the exact numbers are hard to determine.

A city like Malmo, for example, which is Sweden’s third largest city, has the highest murder rate among the Scandinavian countries.

More than 40 percent of the city’s residents or their parents are foreign-born, a fact that is often linked to Malmo’s crime rates, but Mr. Gerell, the criminologist, said a correlation was not clear, and even if there was one, immigration was not the only contributing factor.

“Immigration has most likely played a part in the crime rates,” he said. “But we have many, many poor people living in poor areas so it’s not only about immigration. That said, poverty doesn’t necessarily cause crime, but when there are lots of social problems there will be more of other problems.”

As Swedish cop Peter Springare discovered recently, it is forbidden for indigenous Swedes to ask whether Sweden has too many immigrants.

So the NYT finds an immigrant to Sweden who is… critical of too much immigration into Sweden. Because we all know that if the person making the critique of immigration is ‘white’, that is not good.

Even some longtime immigrants concede that integration has not always gone smoothly, and that Sweden needs a more robust debate about what has gone wrong and what could be done better.

Whoa. Say again?

Maher Dabour, who came to Sweden from Lebanon in the 1980s, said the main problem lay in how migrants are schooled in societal differences.

“They didn’t manage to explain to us how to be citizens,” he said. “In legal terms it’s not difficult, and they’ve been more than generous, but it’s not enough to give money.”

The most generous welfare benefits in the world are not enough. Somehow, even after all the accommodation by indigenous Swedes, it’s still ultimately fault of… indigenous Swedes. Well, that’s the POV of white liberals. But of the immigrant the NYT has interviewed, a very different perspective emerges:

He said that Swedes had built a society based on the individual’s respect for the state, discipline and rules, but that many newly arrived people come with no respect for, or trust in, government authorities, but great regard for family and elders.

This immigrant is sounding like an Alt-Righter! He indirectly acknowledges that Sweden is not ‘magic dirt’, that the uniquely Swedish cultural norms (which cumulatively lead to the Swedish nation) are not simply the product of living on said ‘magic dirt’, and that (Muslim) immigrants coming en masse do not respect this Swedish morales, and bring with them their Muslim social morales (e.g., low trust in govt, tribal nepotism, etc.)

“The authorities say everything is O.K. and in order, but it’s not true,” Mr. Dabour said. “We need to have an open and honest discussion about the problems,” he added, referring to crime among immigrants.

Here is a great opportunity for the NYT to have such an ‘honest discussion’, to pursue the merits of this immigrant’s perspective, to perhaps even get the measured opinions of the Swedish ‘far right’, but alas, no such ‘honest discussion’ takes place.

Of one district in Malmo:

In Malmo, the Rosengard district has for years been named by the national police as having a high crime rate, although that has improved recently. It is home to 25,000 people, 86 percent of them with foreign backgrounds.

But, as we must endlessly caution ourselves, correlation is not causation.

My favorite passage in the article is this, with reference to the abovementioned Rosengard district:

For decades area residents have felt they got more negative attention from the media than positive responses from municipal officials.

“They built a nice waterfront and created 10,000 jobs in the western part of town, but all we got was two mosques,” said Mira Dekanic, a retiree and nearby resident.

Has anyone considered producing a t-shirt that shows a woman in a hijab saying ‘I moved to Sweden and all I got was this stupid taxpayer-paid apartment, food subsidies, and cash allotments… but only 2 mosques!”


Might the ‘anti-immigration immigrant’ angle be sexy new thing for the MSM? A CNN piece titled “In Sweden, tensions temper pride over refugee policy” begins with the standard MSM intro to a piece on immigration:

Stockholm, Sweden (CNN) — With its brick and pastel-colored mid-rise apartment blocks, neatly-paved square and tree-lined streets, Rinkeby could be just about any town in Sweden.

Take a closer look, though, and you notice the Arabic signs in shop windows, overhear conversations in Kurdish, and see many faces of people of Somali descent.

On the surface, it may feel a world away from other troubled immigrant neighborhoods in Europe — Molenbeek in Brussels, say, or the banlieues of Paris — but Rinkeby, however well-kept, has its problems too.

But then the piece takes an unexpected turn:

When Donald Trump suggested something was going wrong in Sweden — long hailed a glowing example for its decision to welcome so many refugees and migrants — his remarks were met first with confusion, and then with derision.

But after riots broke out here in Rinkeby, a short drive from the center of Stockholm, just days later, one local resident told CNN he thought Trump’s comments were “spot on. I think everything he said is true.”

The man, who asked not to be named, is the son of two immigrants who came to Sweden from Greece before he was born. But, he argues, immigration to the country — and to his neighborhood — has now gone too far.

“It is out of control. There is a lot of them, there is no place for them,” he says. “The real problem is the refugees. They come here and think they can do whatever they want.”

So, where does the unmitigated support for endless Muslim immigration come from? Cue the naïve, college-aged, Millennial Swedes:

Others remain absolutely convinced that Sweden’s immigration policy is something to be proud of.

“I know we have a lot of migrants, but I do not see it as a problem,” says student Natalie Lindum, 20, from Stockholm. “Yes, we have a lot of people coming, but it’s something I welcome.

“I have a lot of friends’ parents who are not from Sweden, but I love that. I love that it’s multicultural. They are good people, and I think there is actually less racism in Sweden nowadays.”

And Diversity brings interesting restaurants!

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