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'Undocumented kids have a right to school'

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 17 Aug 2009, 13:18

Published: 17 Aug 2009 13:18 GMT+02:00

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Education minister Jan Björklund is confident that the proposal will eventually become law, Sveriges Radio reports.

"It is maybe a question of several hundred, or perhaps thousand, children who are in Sweden but currently have no right to go to school," Björklund said to Ekot.

"We reason that all children in the world, regardless of where they live and regardless of their parents rights or wrongs, have a right to a school education."

The commission of inquiry will consider the rights of children whose parents have come to Sweden illegally and may not have applied for residence permits, or may have had their applications rejected. There are no figures as to how many children there are, Sveriges Radio reports.

Jan Björklund categorically promises that if the Alliance government remains in power after the next general election (in September 2010) then legislation will be passed to enable all children in Sweden, regardless of status, access to schooling.

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The plans were welcomed by Christina Heilborn, a lawyer at Unicef.

"We are very happy and welcome this decision. This is also something that we have previously demanded," she said.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:57 August 17, 2009 by antoniolgj
Madness, completely madness...

A slap in the face of all LEGAL immigrants.

Illegals should be DEPORTED at one, not being given more "rights".

15:13 August 17, 2009 by Noxtion
I understand that Sweden wants to give everyone rights and such, but jeez....

They are illegal, if they know that then the parents should be investigated and deported. All other immigrants have to go through paperwork and such to even reside in the country.

If you allow the children to go to school then it gives the illegal's more reason to try and stay here via their illegal methods.

I don't believe you should punish the children for things they can not control... But if a child is registered in the system, even if illegal, you'll be able to see where they reside and the proper steps can be taken.

But there are many sides and 'if's to this situation. The point is things are illegal for a reason.
15:19 August 17, 2009 by Playmaker
well this can be a good law maybe. as soon as this kids go to school we can id the illegals and where they live then they can be deported and go to school in there home country.
15:26 August 17, 2009 by martell
In my opinion, undocumented children of illegal immigrants have the right to be repatriated as soon as possible.

Not only are these parents legally criminals, they destroy a future of their children as well.
15:42 August 17, 2009 by benomax
My opinion is that, any one who is illegal should be deported back to their home country. If the children are given the right to study, it will encourage illegal immigrants to come in and put their children in schools, maybe some day they will come out with another law which states that illegal parents of children schooling should be given residential permits. True children have the right to go to schools but their parents living illegally should be fished out and deported. Sweden should not be too lenient about some laws because a lot of people will take advantage of it, and it may become prolematic in the future. I feel for the children that they are not going to school but, the right thing to do is to send their parents back home.
15:44 August 17, 2009 by Nemesis
In the town I live in, that should treble the amount of school children.

This is nuts. Unemployment is going up all around Europe. We haven't got the jobs for these people and we should not be paying for them as well.

As a matter of interest, have any of you actually thought about how much money it costs for an illegal to get from the middle east or Africa to Northern Europe. They could actually purchase a small farm or good house for the cost they pay.

Even the local commune house in my town has a standing order with the local pizzeria staffed by 6 full time staff of which 5 are illegals. The Pizzaria only pays 2000 krona tax per month, according to tax office records, yet is constantly full, with a delivery serevice that operates across the entire commune. The legal worker has two personal numbers, which is illegal as well.
15:53 August 17, 2009 by Kaethar
Good luck with that. It won't work since parents of illegal children in Sweden won't send them to school with fear of being caught. You expect them to simply trust the authorities? Exactly where do you think illegal immigrants come from? Most illegal immigrants in Sweden are asylum seekers who've had their applications turned down. The authorities are aware of them (but can't find them) so they'll stay out of the public eye for sure.

Since their asylum applications were rejected (and Sweden has very lax migration laws) this means these people are economic migrants for sure and not in any danger. And such behaviour should not be awarded with free schooling...

Also, since they're illegal the children's degrees won't be recognised in Sweden and if/when they move overseas to work with their degrees their knowledge is lost. So how exactly does this benefit the tax payers who pay for this education? Or is UNICEF paying?
16:06 August 17, 2009 by Mucker
This is a good idea. Children should not be punished for the deeds of their parents. All kids need an education, regardless of their parents status. Not sending them to school will only create social problems in the future.
16:20 August 17, 2009 by paulbest
I think for once less be human.illegal or legal what matter is we are talking about children.Will not be surprised few people who have posted, are unable to make children,and again like the saying goes,all fingers are not the same.illegal immigrants are human just like me and you.
16:25 August 17, 2009 by this_aint_sparta
Comment: Just out of curiosity, how these illegal parents are surviving in sweden ? I mean if they have kids its a complete family, they need a complete apartment which they need to pay the rent for, they might need to show their ID @ ica ?? banks hospitals ??? or a passport without any visa works ???

Illegal means that they had the visa once but it was not extended and they are still living on the ID card they have from when there visa was valid or illegal means they have the visa but not allowed to work or something ?

Can you live in sweden without a valid foto legitimakhoon ?
16:34 August 17, 2009 by Texrusso
Again, you guys got it wrong!! Children must not be punished for the sins of their parents. Children are the future of our Planet and must be given all benefits of life. That one child you deprive of education may be the next defender and saviour of our planet tomorrow. I concor with the Swedish Government, Give all children in Sweden the right of education regardless of their legality. I am a tax payer as well, I don't really care if tax money supports this. If I have my way, and if I am as wealthy as BIll gates, I will use my wealth to educate as many children as possible in the World regardless of nationality, race, religion or ethnic group. Education is the preparation of greater life ahead and knowledge is wisdom. Way to go Sweden!!!
17:26 August 17, 2009 by himilo
I see hardliners comments on this issue. But, I encourage you to respect World Human Rights Declaration on Children and the decisions made by Ministry of Education.

I am very proud Swedish government and its valuable decisions!
17:30 August 17, 2009 by Kaethar

Good parents take care of their kids. What really should happen is the removal of these kids from their parents. But that can't happen since the authorities can't find them.

100 million children around the world lack access to education. This is part of a bigger problem. Countries need to educate their own citizens. Rewarding illegal immigration is not the way to go.
17:33 August 17, 2009 by thegraou
I'm sorry, but as a French citizen, I'm really worried about the future of Sweden. In France, we did that, and as a result, when the government decided to send illegal families back to their countries, associations fought against that because of these illegal children who were at school, who made friends and so that would be hard for them to quit their teachers and friends! I'm sorry, but of course children should not pay for their parents' mistakes, but a government is not supposed to replace the parents! If they want the happiness of their children, then PARENTS have to become legal citizens or go in a country where they can offer a legal situation to their children! In France for example! (irony...)
17:59 August 17, 2009 by byke
I am afraid I disagree with many of you.

I believe in the charter of human rights, and the rights of a child.

A child should NOT be held accountable for a parents actions, and if the child does go through the swedish system, odds are he will stay here for the considerable future and be part of the swedish future workforce.

Sweden needs more citizens, this is why we see such a large amount of refugees being virtually invited to Sweden. While I may not ethically believe a child should be stripped of his cultural identity, nothing is to say that if the parent has done a bunk that the child itself wont choose to wish to merge into swedish society.
18:00 August 17, 2009 by Greg in Canada
This will only encourage more illegals to come and try to use their kids as a way not to get deported. You're now going to have illegal immigrants hiding behind their kids. Good work Sweden. Once again you've created your own long term social problems.
18:48 August 17, 2009 by Dodger
I'm in agreement that all children deserve the right to access education. It does not mention however that is has to be in Sweden at taxpayers expense. That being said, it is plausible that Jan Björklund's efforts on this topic will just push more people into the hands of the unsavoury Sverigedemokraterna (SD) at the next election. I'm sure they are all smiling right now.
18:56 August 17, 2009 by byke
@ Greg in Canada

This has nothing to do with deportation.

If a family is issued a deportation notice, then the family will need to leave.

However up until this point, it doesn't mean children shouldn't deserve the basic human rights.

On the flip side, do any of you guys roughly know the costs in enforcing deportations?
19:35 August 17, 2009 by Playmaker
yes childern do need education but why does it have to be sweden who pays since the illegal do not pay taxes.

a question for those who agree with the new story.

Do you not think this will lead to illegal useing there kids to stay? is this unreasonable to think? and what do you think about using the kids to find the parents so they can be deported. if they were denied asylum then it obviosly a econiomic issue and not that they are here because they fear for there life. do you think there is any truth to this?
20:02 August 17, 2009 by Greg in Canada

If Sweden needs as many immigrants as you claim, then shoudn't they all be legal immigrants? Illegals should not be given privileges ahead of legals regardless of their kids.

I'm sure illegals will try to use their kids to avoid deportation unless Sweden has a very firm "no way" policy as a way to ensure this doesn't happen. Otherwise you can expect to soon be flooded with illegals bringing their kids into the country.
22:50 August 17, 2009 by byke
@ Greg in Canada

To be honest I dont have all the data to speculate on what the Swedish immigration board uses to determine immigration status. Obviously financial and educational background will determine allot.

I personally believe that ANY child on Swedish soil should be respected under the human rights treaty, especially the UNICEF "Convention on the Rights of the Child".

Regardless what crimes an adult may do on foreign soil, you cant expect a child to be sentenced and have their fundamental human rights taken away based on their parents actions.

Governments all over the world use taxes to imprison criminals, regardless if they have been tax payers. Why wouldn't governments use taxes to protect children on their own soil?
03:31 August 18, 2009 by JaguarOgat
If you want to be smart about this, AND humanistic - then the parents need to come forward and apply for citizenship if the child is to remain in school. If you're educating the child, you can find the parents.

Just accepting them under the blanket of untempered compassion leads to....California. Or France. The parents are using that blanket to smother the very cultures and countries they invade. And trust me, it's an invasion.
06:34 August 18, 2009 by sleeplesssweden
Another catch 22...why will any reasonabe illegal immigrant bring his kids to school..so what happens after he or she wants his kids after school..then the authorities will swop on them....:)
09:18 August 18, 2009 by Caribbean guy/Swedish Gal
kids that are illegal should be allowed in school..its alowed in CANADA AND USA!!! Greg from Canada check it up!!!

If sweden needs more immigration why not accept these ppl into the society, swedes seems to forget when they were migrating to USA after the great civil war and to Canada around the world wars 1920 to about 1945!!

11:11 August 18, 2009 by hpunlimited
Illegal immigrants should be deported immidietly, no questions asked! If they show up in school, let the police be there and pick them up. If you are not a taxpayer/your parents legal taxpayers, you have no rights to use the Swedish system. It is a slap in the face to law abiding immigrants and Swedes. Do not let these criminals destroy this country.

This shouldn't even be up for discussion.
12:06 August 18, 2009 by Dr. Dillner
Can you spell D E P O R T A T I O N?

How difficult is the word "illegal" to understand?

Garbage, just garbage.
13:09 August 18, 2009 by Marc the Texan
To the people who argue that the children are being punished for the crimes of their parents. Isn't that true of all children who have criminal parents? If a Swedish parent goes to prison for a crime, the children suffer for lack of a parent. So the children of criminals will always be casualties in some way. Yes it's a sad situation, but the alternative is a breakdown of civil society.
13:46 August 18, 2009 by Kaethar
@Caribbean guy/Swedish Gal:

Sweden needs legal immigrants, not illegal immigrants. Sweden is a country of 9 million people - there are around a billion poor people around the world. You cannot just open borders to immigrants - it'll lead to the fall of society.

And how many illegal Swedish immigrants do you know? Most Swedes have migrated legally. In the past they migrated to a state where documents were not necessary at the time. Either way it's false logic. What some people choose to do does not reflect on the policies of the state. Angolans, for example, may try to come illegally to Europe all the time. And at the same time Angola (which is relatively rich in Africa) is deporting hundreds of immigrants a week. And they have every right to do this. They're having a boom right now and this would be destroyed if they were swamped by foreigners.

I suggest you go out into the world and learn (and read) instead of just spouting the same nonsense the media spits out.
13:58 August 18, 2009 by Liadora
As a mother I can't understand why someone would choose to live illegally in a country, or do anything that would so seriously harm their children. If you do not have permission to be in a country you shouldn't be there. But a child itself has no choice over where they live, they just go where their parents go. Children deserve an educaton no matter where they are or why they are there. Perhaps the education they recieve will help them go on to be active, law abiding citizens to whatever counrtry they end up in, how could that possibly be a bad thing?

Perhaps this move has more than one motive? Educate these poor mistreated children and enforce laws that the parents are not upholding? I don't really see how that could be a bad thing. As long as the law was phrased in such a way that prevented the illegal immigrant parents from using it as leverage to avoid deportation.
16:17 August 18, 2009 by mobings
International boundaries are logical demarcation, as the future may have a scenario without any borders... only a planet earth and humans living inside. Today's child is tomorrow's father. We need to educate them to have ideal planet to live in.
16:52 August 18, 2009 by hpunlimited

That sounds so beautiful written. To bad it will never happen!

Mankind is greedy, murderous, jealous and lazy. We are also social creatures and we still live in "tribes" or communities consisting of people that think/act/look the same and always will! That is how we were created!!
17:50 August 18, 2009 by Twiceshy
crowd of racist statements! are you children of hitler? NO ONE IS ILLEGAL! only crazy racists (who don't have basic knowledge how to make new job places, but they strive at any price to stay authority and enjoy in privileges) can make someone illegal. If Swedish can travel and live somewhere, it should be the same with others. if people from London and Berlin can come to Sweden and try to find job, it should be allowed to anyone whatever color of skin or nationality someone has. Come to Copenhagen and you will see many Swedish homeless here, they live on the bill of social care and nobody push them out. But at other side, I never saw Danish homeless in Sweden. It is just example, how much Swedish hate foreigners while Swedish enjoy in benefits of social care in other countries.
05:41 August 19, 2009 by JaguarOgat
Twiceshy, you are just bugnuts insane. I mean, your attitude is completely crazy. No one is illegal? I guess nothing is illegal then either, right? I mean, what is with all these laws holding us back from doing what we want? Money is an illusion and costs are a lie! Everything is free and made of rainbows and fairy dust... OK, let us know when you grow up and fall back to Earth.

Give me one good reason that a person seeking to benefit from the social programs of society should not be made to contribute to and JOIN that society? One reason. You want to consume resources that I pay for? Then become a citizen, get a job, and pay your taxes. I'm not supporting you and your kids forever, I have my own kids to support. I work to do it. Any other parent should too. It's very, very simple.
09:50 August 19, 2009 by hpunlimited
I am not sure what is wrong with people these days. Everyone is just screaming for "RIGHTS" but no one ever talks about "RESPONSIBILITY". Everywhere in the world right now, people think that just because you were BORN on earth you are entitled RIGHTS. Just sit on your fat ass all day with an open mouth and tell people to feed you, because you are sooo special. Sorry guys. You have absolutely NO rights unless you contribute yourself to society, you have absolutely NO rights unless you yourself take responsibility for your own life. IF you have kids, then you take RESPONSIBILITY for your own kids, not the Swedish tax payers. It is an insult!!
13:17 August 19, 2009 by here for the summer
it's a problem everywhere. How many services to provide illegal immigrants. US with the Mexican immigrants has a much bigger problem.
15:38 August 19, 2009 by Random Guy
as I know all foreigners would like to contribute to society (not only with money than with creativity and art also) but racist politicians made them illegal, so foreigners can't contribute anything, they are isolated against their will. even if they find job, it is black work, so they don't pay taxes, and big boss don't pay taxes. so, Swedish should push their politicians to change their decisions about foreigners, and then foreigners will pay taxes when they find legal job.

very simply. and don't misuse economic reasons to justify racism, Hitler attacked other countries because of economic reasons (to rob them). racism is today based on economic reasons. but racism is racism in any case. as someone said: Swedish were immigrants in the past, so if other accepted you, now it is your turn to accept others.
00:35 August 20, 2009 by JaguarOgat
Yeah Random, but those Swedes CONTRIBUTED. You're missing that little difference.
11:02 August 20, 2009 by soultraveler3
Jaguar you hit the nail on the head.

I really believe that most people don't have a problem with immigrants coming into their country to make a better life for themselves and their families. They just want them to go through the paperwork and get registered, in other words, do it legally, the way it should be done.

The problem starts when immigrants do it illegally, don't assimilate into society, don't learn the language, don't have a job, don't pay taxes, don't contribute.

That makes the "natives" feel like they're being disrespected, taken advantage of and being forced to pay for people that don't have the right to be there in the first place.

Paying for housing, healthcare, education, food etc. for illegal immigrants is a HUGE strain on society and on law abiding, tax paying, hard working citizens.
23:51 August 21, 2009 by Coalbanks
How do so-called illegals manage to live? I couldn't use my credit card without a photo ID last night, didn't have any on me so No Sale. Good thing I was buying clothes & had not tried to use it to pay for a meal. They must live on cash & the "black economy". How else could they get cash? Do banks cash their cheques?
19:03 September 25, 2009 by jglammi
Children in a country illegally are entitled to to repatriated humanely, not to be provided schooling in the country in which they were brought illegally.
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