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Swedish house debates migration policy

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 30 Mar 2011, 14:08

Published: 30 Mar 2011 14:08 GMT+02:00

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Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson opened the debate by arguing that Sweden's immigration policy was "extreme" and "irresponsible" in an EU context.

"It is obvious that generally speaking (the government) wants to see an increase in immigration to Sweden," he said, arguing that the agreement is a document in favour of "unfettered mass immigration".

Migration minister Tobias Billström underlined that the agreement provided for a legal basis for long-term migration policy.

"The government and the Green Party has taken a joint responsibility for migration and asylum policy. A regulated immigration. An orderly process... Which recognises that there is another migration aside from the involuntary."

Billström devoted much of his time at the speaker's podium to underlining the responsibilities of the EU in formulating a joint migration and asylum policy and argued that the agreement was a contribution to this.

"Yes Sweden takes in a large number of asylum seekers - but that is not the problem. The problem is that a small number of states do a lot, while a large number do very little," he said during the debate.

He laid out several initiatives contained in the agreement including more resources to ensure that those denied asylum leave the country, as well as a review of the situation of the "papperslösa" (literally: without documents) to access emergency healthcare.

Billström argued that Sweden could be a model to other EU states to resist the insular winds blowing across the continent, pointing out that the key to Sweden's success is its openness and ability to attract newcomers.

Åkesson later complained at the use of the Swedish term "papperslösa" (Literally: without documents), calling it "newspeak", in a reference to George Orwell's 1984.

"They should be called what they are - illegal immigrants," Åkesson said, arguing that the agreement encouraged illegality by making it easier for those who have not applied nor been accepted for asylum to access Swedish welfare.

In a opinion article in the Svenska Dagbladet daily on Wednesday morning, Åkesson claimed that there were 60,000 people in Sweden who had been denied asylum but remained in the country, based on the number of completed deportations.

Tobias Billström rejected the figure, saying that it ignored the fact that most people who are denied asylum leave the country of their own free will.

Fredrik Federley of the Centre Party attacked the Sweden Democrats line of reasoning on welfare and challenged Jimmie Åkesson to confirm that he stood behind an agreement which gave, for example, pregnant women the right to give birth at Swedish hospitals regardless of status.

Federley also underlined the importance of labour migration to ensure that Sweden's demographic challenge is met and questioned why qualified immigrants seek their success elsewhere.

"Why do migrants leave for England or Canada - because we are not able to contribute and provide opportunities," Federley said.

Åkesson responded to Federley's challenge by complaining at the tone adopted in his speech, while thanking the remainder of the speakers for the debate.

A significant part of the continued debate was dedicated to dissenting views of immigrants as an asset or a burden, with Ulf Nilsson of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) following a similar reasoning to the Moderate Party's Tobias Billström in defending the proposal.

"The Alliance sees inward labour migration as an opportunity, sees the possibilities of the EU to build up a humane asylum policy and an open labour migration," he said.

"The EU is the possibility we have, we need to give it a chance," Nilsson concluded.

The agreement has been heralded as a statement that Sweden will not follow the perceived situation in Denmark, where the Danish People's Party (Dansk Folkeparti - DF) has managed to gain a profound influence on migration and asylum policy.

Several speakers referred to this "Danish development" and also to research presented at Gothenburg University on Monday which showed that the harder the line adopted by the established parties within migration and asylum policy, the greater the support for the Sweden Democrats.

The study presented by Carl Dahlström and Anders Sundell indicated that the line adopted by the parties on the left of the political spectrum is particularly important, especially the Social Democrats.

Story continues below…

The researchers questioned why established parties would adopt a tougher line when they appear to punished for it by the voters. Denmark is used as an example where the views of an anti-immigrant party are "contagious" for the others.

Christina Höj Larsen of the Left Party argued in the debate that this process has already begun and disputed that the agreement constitutes a means of blocking of the "Danish development".

"Why adopt bad policy, and justify it by saying the alternative is even worse," she said, arguing that Sweden needs clear answers on how the situation can be improved for many of the more vulnerable groups in society.

Emma Henriksson of the Christian Democrats took up this theme in her rejection of the classification of all those without documents to be "illegal".

"These are people who reside in our country who have not applied to be here, or have applied and not been approved. But that does not make the people illegal in themselves; this human being retains the full rights to exist," she said.

The Green Party's Maria Ferm concluded the debate by expressing a hope that the agreement can form the basis of further constructive cooperation.

Ferm furthermore pointed out that Sweden is a wealthy country and doesn't need to make a choice between developing social services, addressing poverty and tackling crime, and a humane asylum and open labour migration policy.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:20 March 30, 2011 by Syftfel
Good. Debate it thoroughly! And do not force Swedes to accept a totalitarian "we-know-best" decision. Government should be of the people, for the people and by the people. Whips shold NOT be cracked on tyhis issue!. It is fair to say that Sweden's tolerance level on the immigration policy has been stretched very thin. I'm speaking to all you you lefty liberal vermin out there. Christina Höj Larsen is without any doubt on the wrong track here. As far as I'm concerned we must emulate the Danish model, and eviscerate the Swedish model. So go ahead and debate all you want, and follow the wish of the Swedes, not your own misguided, über-liberal/socialist ideals. Look up the word "democracy" and then proceed accordingly. Thank you.
15:16 March 30, 2011 by occassional
virtue as usual lies in the middle way but there is nothing like a good genuine debate that considers all points of view
15:17 March 30, 2011 by Valdemaratterdag
Emma Henriksson of the Christian Democrats took up this theme in her rejection of the classification of all those without documents to be "illegal".

"These are people who reside in our country who have not applied to be here, or have applied and not been approved. But that does not make the human being illegal in themselves; this human being retains their full rights to exist,"

That's a total red herring. Nobody is arguing that these people don't have the right to exist. The argument is WHERE they have the right to be.

Jesus, it isn't that hard to figure out.
15:31 March 30, 2011 by Jes
@Syftet dear , I have looked up the word "democracy" and failed to see where it says that the voice of 5.5% of the population equals the wish of "the people" . Untill you explain to me why you think that the racists of SD are the only " people " in Sweden , I am going to keep on thinking that someone is suffering from an acute "we know best" complex -and it is not the lefty liberals .

What a surprise !
15:48 March 30, 2011 by Swedesmith
Papperslösa,ha! When we run out of paper at the house, we have to use corn cobs.

Seriously, could I get a job as a doctor without credentials? I'm credentiallösa, say how about that job as a week-end gynecologist?
15:59 March 30, 2011 by TheOneWhoTravels
Hurra för Sverigedemokraterna! Fortsätt med det goda arbetet!
17:22 March 30, 2011 by Syftfel
@Jes. Aside from the fact that leftists, anarchists and other assorted, useless, riff-raff from the left invariably try to obfuscate the issue by inserting irrelevant questions - in this case the SD election results as compared to Swedes' opinions on open borders - what is the link between the two? I did not vote for SD, but I strongly support its immigration philosophy. I also do not think that SD has a monopoly on "racsism", a term that is thrown about much to liberally. But you people want to make it appear that SD is is "racist". Let's get back what Swedes actually think about immigration in general, and open borders in particular. How does the Swedish people (not just the know-it-all social dems, greens, Aftonbladet, and scruffy looking leftist college professors) think immigration should be handled?
17:32 March 30, 2011 by truthworthy
95% of the Swedish population are welcoming, except the 5% racists who have their roots in Denmark. The racists are playing games with the public by trying to create fear that does not exist.
17:44 March 30, 2011 by helveeta
Truthworthy, why don't you move to Rosengård in Malmö or Rinkeby for a while? THEN come comment here....If you're so welcoming, how often do you have immigrants over for coffee? Or even said hello to one on the street??
17:48 March 30, 2011 by Jannik
If i could, i would vote for SD.

The "danish development" has spared Denmark of hordes of refugees and other opportunist rif raf, who drain the economy of valuable resources.

Sweden is unfortunately governed by culturalmarxist traitors who care nothing about ethnic swedes future, but are ready to hand over the country to the EU and muslims.

Hopefully more than 5,5% of the electorate will wake up before tha next election.

"These are people who reside in our country who have not applied to be here, or have applied and not been approved. But that does not make the human being illegal in themselves; this human being retains their full rights to exist,"

Not only is this statement a red herring, it is also an attempt at sophisticated newspeak.

She is semantically trying to abolish the very concept of "illegal immigrant". If a person has not been approved, he is by definition an illegal immigrant.

The traitors on the left will apparently do anything to swarm the country with foreigners. Their fanaticism is scary as hell.
18:39 March 30, 2011 by canuk
with the EXPLOSION that has happened in the center of STOCKHOLM not so many months ago, you can rest assured that swedes will be electing more of the SD in future elections...and rightfully so. As a legal immigrant here that works and contrbutes it was harder for me then it seems to be for all the people that come here ilegally and claim to be gay or christian....

This is not a matter of being racist, its a matter of integration. we know how to do this in canada, they dont know how to do this in sweden.
18:46 March 30, 2011 by Syftfel
@truthworthy. You may very well be correct. 95% of Swedes probably are welcoming to immigrants. I am too. It's just that it can't continue the way the social dems and the extremist lefty/liberal open borders pack(såssepatrasket) has been doing it. Sweden needs a sensible immigration policy, not porouos borders where anyone who manages to get here ends up on tax payers' support, feeding off the public trough. Surely you must agree that extreme, corrective, measures need to be taken including the abolishon of the so called familjeåterföreningsinvandringen, as well as immediate and swift deporation of those who commit crimes.
20:59 March 30, 2011 by RobinHood
Finally, a grown up debate in Parliament about the pros and cons of immigration into Sweden. The encumbent government having to explain and defend its position before the nation. Jimmie getting to state his case as he deserves to as an elected member. The death of the phrase illegal immigrant and the birth of the word "papperslösa".

It's amazing what good/bad things happen when important national policies are debated openly and properly, instead of being decided privately by politicians who think they know what's good for us.

More of the same please.
04:42 March 31, 2011 by peterfernandes238
Hi, i am new here, i want to read more about that.

government auctions
05:55 March 31, 2011 by BGMan
"Åkesson later complained at the use of the Swedish term "papperslösa" (Literally: without documents), calling it "newspeak", in a reference to George Orwell's 1984."

In the USA, we have the term "undocumented immigrant" used primarily by the Democrats, whereas most of the Republicans prefer "illegal alien"
07:21 March 31, 2011 by technoviking
Go Jimmie!

When the best the multiculturalmarxinazis can say is meaningless gibberish that illegal immigrants aren't "illegal" then you know they are in trouble.

The winds will be blowing in a different direction shortly.

Keep the debate going!
08:03 March 31, 2011 by calebian22
"The researchers questioned why established parties would adopt a tougher line when they appear to punished for it by the voters."

It's called too little, too late. Even with this debate, the comments by the established parties show their lack of understanding regarding the problem on the ground in Sweden. SD will grow substantially in 2014 if this debate is an indicator. Yay!
09:17 March 31, 2011 by Angry Ami
The Swedish people have the right to decide who they allow into their country,

period, one wonders at what point these dumb idealistic liberal politicians will wake up and smell the coffee, this isn't the 80's anymore, when for the most part newcomer would come in and at least try to integrate, it's a completely different generation who has know interest in integrating , but rather just getting a free handout and then spitting in the face of the host country, and how many so-called asylum seeker are "really in danger if the stay home, don't believe the hype Sweden.
10:46 March 31, 2011 by nyh2o
go centre party! you're so fab that you realize the importance of skilled migration along with helping asylum seekers! this is the only way of supporting the demographic changes and more importantly, for swedes to realize that intelligent and hard working people also exist in developing countries - not just people asking for bidrag all the time.

and its understandable why SD is so up against the asylum seekers. afterall, they are taking the bidrag money that SD members usually live their lives with....you can count the number of sds that have held a proper job and actually ever paid taxes in one hand. and to the rest of you - if you are worried about people living on other peoples taxed income - just deport this 5% to denmark. they'll find many more friends there, ask for bidrag from the racists in denmark, and live their own hateful lives there.
12:30 March 31, 2011 by Taha

I am an immigrant, skilled worker (in one of those technical fields where Swedes have no interest at all since they are more into media and business field hype), a regular tax payer (unlike my host friends, not staying home by telling my boss I am sick and even then getting 80% of my salary (that is a wow but I don't believe in misusing things (even I am an immigrant ;) ).

Whenever I go out I say hello with a pleasant smile (and I have a pleasant smile) to anyone who is staring at me with strangely. The response from my host fellows is either a dry greeting or a complete silence with turning their eyes away.

I still believe they are very courteous and it should be something wrong with me coz I am an immigrant..... :)
13:23 March 31, 2011 by technoviking

Sweden DEFINITELY needs more skilled immigrants like you and should make it easier for you to be here. Especially if you studied here.

It's the ignorant, illiterate, superstitious cave men who want to bring the dark ages here that we're worried about.
10:04 April 1, 2011 by Byggare Bob
@ Jimmy1988

If TL were blocking your comments for being in contravention of their guidelines, it would show up here.

Perhaps you are either struggling with the internets or are starting to see imaginary demons in your closet?
10:56 April 1, 2011 by ericrufinosiah
My only advice for the Natives Swedish is to be patient with the pro-immigration

policies of the New Government and from now gather more support for the

Sweden Democrat and it's far-sighted and honest leader,Jimme Akesson ,then when the next National Election comes,just give Jimme Akesson and the

Sweden Democrate the mandate to form the next Government.,to once and for all

correct the mistakes of the previous Government if that is what the Natives

Swedish thinks.
10:59 April 1, 2011 by Nora
"Why do migrants leave for England or Canada - because we are not able to contribute and provide opportunities," Federley said.

These migrants are skilled workers (like PhD students after their graduation among others) that are faced with the closed door of your country for skilled and educated people, not asylum seekers and illegal migrants. You better contribute and provide opportunities first for these type of people rather that work permits for grant rejected asylum seekers.

By the way, how many foreign PhD students are there in Sweden? that are paying taxes and don't get a work permit to at least be able to be granted a resident prermit after 4 years ...

and how many asylum seekers are there in Sweden?

I hope that you get the point...
13:01 April 1, 2011 by jimmy1988
They should talk more about the consequences of their migracion policies specially when it comes for criminalyty that is getting higher in Sweden, too many immigrants is the same for too many crimes.
13:18 April 1, 2011 by Rick Methven
And you should learn some grammar and spelling before you post your rubbish
16:05 April 1, 2011 by Syftfel
@methven: Why do you so often find it necessary to go on attack against a person - in this case spelling and grammar - instead of the issue at hand, i.e. the catastrophic, proposed, unacceptable, immigration reform. Remember it is always wise, and much more polite and civilized, to critisize ideas, not people.
19:55 April 1, 2011 by matona1
life is life ,human are human.no one is illegal tell me a person that come to this world with red passport in his right hand and pasun number on his forehead ,all human were born to be free,
21:08 April 1, 2011 by Dave N
"All human were born to be free.."

OK - but that does not mean they have the right to travel uninvited and unwanted to another country and colonise it. Nor should you expect the indigenous inhabitants to allow this without putting up some form of resistance. Humans are territorial creatures - you invade another's territory at your own peril.

The problem for most Western Europeans is that they don't yet even realise that they are being invaded and colonised. Some of them foolishly still believe the mainstream politicians who tell themlies such as that the presence of the colonists is a good thing! Geronimo and Cochis would never have fallen for such bare-faced lies. Politicians speak with forked tongue!
01:58 April 2, 2011 by zerotolerancenow
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:13 April 2, 2011 by liban91
owow i hate sd sd go to hell.......................
15:07 April 3, 2011 by astra2thor6
Between 2000-2009 over 103,000 persons immigrated To Sweden from Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria. International Transparency published statistics showing that Somalia and Iraq were perceived as the most corrupt countries amongst 180 researched. Prof Ekberg was commissioned by the Swedish Government to discover the cost of unemployed immigrants for the Swedish taxpayer. Jan Ekberg, Professor of National Economics at Linneaus University,found that, "Today unemployment among immigrants is far higher than among native Swedes, and the support of unemployed immigrants costs between 1.5% and 2% of GDP, or about 50 billion kronor (in 2009). We're inviting people (to Sweden), but the problem is lack of employment opportunities". I consider that many Swedes agree with the SD proposal that immigration should be stopped until unemployed "invandare" find work. I leave readers of "The Local" to derive their own conclusions from these facts!
11:17 April 4, 2011 by No Haram Done
Captain Obvious here:

The SWEDISH GOV'T sees its population it's responsible for as being far TOO wealthy & well off, so they bring in FRACTIOUS, UNPRODUCTIVE & WORTHLESS Muslims to soak up the excess wealth & PRESTO, its once-solid MIDDLE CLASS is reduced to needing TWO INCOMES to maintain emotionally & physically healthy CHILDREN while riding on a CONTINUED DOWNWARD SPIRAL of PLANNED dysfunctionality!

Meanwhile, the Muslim population is allowed to BULGE like a pro-Nazi breeding program without all the brain damage of having to worry about EMPLOYMENT or OVERPOPULATION!


Looks like the FOOLS in the Swedish gov't are doing their LEVEL BEST to ensure that Mo'-Mo's grisly PLAN comes to FRUITION!

I hope the SWEDES rise up & REMOVE these FOOLS who obviously CANNOT GOVERN!

I hope SWEDEN'S citizens HANG these collusive bureaucratic FREEEEEEEX!
12:14 April 4, 2011 by wenddiver
Anybody who belives that letting anybody come to your country without regulation or limiting the numbers really needs to get with a Native American Indian, an Australian aboriginal or a Black South African.

Hopefully the new immigrants won't lock your children up on Swede Reservations. Probably won't happen, because they will probably be Murdered in their homes for not adopting Sharia Law.
15:26 April 4, 2011 by Roy E
The Sweden Democrats appear to be the anti-nihilism party.
21:35 April 5, 2011 by imz1
it's mean i will get Sweden passport in a 5 years..........
15:08 April 7, 2011 by foordranata
It is very easy to slip into "hugging to death" -mode. Much harder to slip out of it.

Sweden is a cold place in the winter. Pretty soon you´ll be overloaded with desperate people and it´s -20 outside. (maybe allready..?)

Please stop it, many of them had absolutely no idea what they signed up for when they left.

I know I´d become an animal, stealing, even selling my children for sex (as is known to be done in some places)

They will spread to neighboring countries next.

This needs to be handled, the way it has been done, does no good to any migrant either.
14:46 April 9, 2011 by Uncle
Why is it not the sole responsibility of muslim rich countries to take poor muslims? Why muslims do not think that these countries should bear this responsibility?

Saudi Arabia has EVERYTHING. Place, sharia law, quadruple marriages, money, hatred of Jews, allowed beating of wives, honor killings, execution of gays - all the wonderful things that peaceful and loving muslims wish so much. Immigrants there should not change ANYTHING . What a heaven on earth!

Why would Rick and Boyfriend drag themselves all the way over here where depressed and slutty swedes have a problem with such minor cultural perks like rape and car burning? Why even bother changing swedes into saudis, when saudis are already saudis?
14:44 April 13, 2011 by AHA
SD has showen that it has matured in many areas but there is still much for them to do to be able attract more the the 6% they did in the elections. I strongly believe that Åkesson should leave political discussions or any other discussions to his party secretary Söder who is more balanced and clear minded than his boss.
14:52 April 13, 2011 by johnny1939
Maybe we should institute a quota so one country should not be predominant.
15:25 April 13, 2011 by gl245p2
There is some hypocrisy here. I am from UK and have 2 properties in Sweden. I paid my tax in Sweden but I do not get any benefits. I do not need any. Even, my kids are entitle getting Children benefits. Getting this in Sweden is very hard. Even, you contribute lot to local economy and spend your hard earn money in Sweden. They are so quick with tax. I have good paid job that lets me work from UK Company from Sweden. There is not great deal of high profile jobs in Sweden. In past 5 years, we in UK have huge number of Scandinavian coming to UK for the jobs. I have to say they are so quick of getting benefits here. They know more about benefits then me. They use National Health Services all the time which is free for everybody. Medical prescriptions are much cheaper then in Sweden. If they do not work they get unemployment benefits so quick. Children tax credit, Tax reliefs, and lesser tax, housing benefits, which are paying your rent.

Yes, this issue is one that has to be discussed. Those who take advantage of the system should be sorted out and those real deal cases that need help should be help. However, in the case of the UK. If you coming to London to taste Englishness. I am afraid you will not find it in London. London is multi-national place. Integration is real well done. There are lots of jobs and everybody has the job and contributes. There are those that taking advantage and they are very small minority.

I have to say, you can not have both ways, it is give and take. You perfectly happy taking money from somebody else and not give it away. Something is wrong there. I know lots of Swedes that claim benefits in UK and Sweden but they are dead against somebody who comes broken and from war torn country. However, they are very eager to ignore this principal and take money from somebody else. No hard feelings.
17:44 April 13, 2011 by Nemesis
@ gl245p2,

The Swedes in the UK and Ireland are very quick to access social services and medical care. They seem to know there way around from day one, yet don't reciprocate towards UK and Irish in Sweden.

The hypocrisy stinks.
21:02 April 14, 2011 by summerboy
I have read all the comments here and I would like to thank @Nora, and @gl245p2 for making useful contributions to the debate. Organised migration is the right way to go for any nation. Unfortunately, many nations including Sweden are not honest about their immigration policies. They create exploitative policies that makes it easy for the far-right to dominate immigration issues. Sweden is only intereted in Asylum Seekers, but what about the thousands of students that you have educated??? You ask them to leave without giving them a choice to live in Sweden or go if they so wish. Many are working and pay lots of taxes and yet they are not given work permit and the company they work for take advantage of them. This is not right! Give them two years to look for work like Demark is doing right now.
14:40 April 15, 2011 by foordranata
Correct me if I´m wrong. Cause I sure as hell ain´t perfect:

It does seem like Sweden lives in a strange world of fluffy-puffy dream of multicultural idealism.

It also seems to me that this strange cloud of fluffiness wants to rain it´s all-loving puffy down on Finland because the cloud "knows best."

We are sooo together on this one all of us.
15:35 April 15, 2011 by imnokuffar
All of you who are pro-immigrant should pay a visit to parts of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Rotherham, and other enriched parts of the UK.

I think the reality would change your mind fairly quickly.

I understand that Malmo is not exactly an outstanding example of multiculturalism because the Jews cannot wait to leave there.

Your country, like mine will be taken from you within 50 years unless we do something.
17:26 April 15, 2011 by foordranata
We all must realize the facts.

We MUST realize the facts.

PLEASE, Swedes, you MUST understand this.

What is this spell you´re under?
11:15 April 18, 2011 by NorthDakotaSwede
Sweden is committing cultural suicide.
14:28 April 29, 2011 by Roy E
"The first step on the path to wisdom is in calling things by their proper name" - Chinese proverb.

That's precisely what multi-culti political correctness purposefully fails to do.
15:42 May 1, 2011 by jamesblish
The biggest mistake people make is to confuse immigrants with refugees. The country certainly could use well-educated adults. That's the perfect citizen really. We don't have to pay for them growing up and being schooled, they're productive right from the start.

But of course, the shortage in skilled professionals will not be solved by the refugees as they are highly unlikely to contribute anything for a significant amount of time. A large percentage of refugees are unable to read and write. Some also have health problems - for example, about half of all HIV/AIDS infections detected in a year, are african refugees. Fact.

So of course those people are not going to be the skilled professionals that ultimately save this country. But immigration and refiugees are two different things. IMO, immigrants should be accepted on a merit basis. The more skilled you are, the higher your chances of getting in. This is completely uncontroversial as immigration is not a matter of saving lives.

Refugees on the other hand, should be accepted with respect to the budget. We can't have too many of them. How many we in fact can afford to take care of, is not up to me to decide. But nevertheless, the emphasis should be on short-term care. As many as possible should be sent back to their homeland as soon as the conflicts have been solved. Provided they get solved. Helping refugees is a matter of human dignity. A lot of our neighbors, however, are not doing their part in this and we need to address that somehow. Sweden can't compensate for, for example, the danes' lack of human decency.
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