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Kids of illegal immigrants can go to school: Sweden

The Local · 24 Oct 2012, 15:02

Published: 24 Oct 2012 15:02 GMT+02:00

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"Children without a residency permit will have the right to education" from kindergarten to secondary school, it said in a statement.

Sweden's use of personal identity numbers has essentially barred children of illegal immigrants from public education, and schools have been required to contact police if registration requests were made for an undocumented child.

The new law scraps that requirement, but schooling will still not be mandatory for children of illegal immigrants.

"All children have the right to go to school ... and their right (to do so) will become legal," Education Minister Jan Björklund said at a press conference.

For undocumented children, going to school "means being normal, (it brings) stability, routines to an often precarious existence," said the Green Party's spokeswoman on immigration, Maria Ferm.

The government will provide an annual budget of 50 million kronor ($7.4 million) starting in 2014, to help the municipalities where the children go to school. Half the annual amount has been set aside for next year.

Story continues below…

Between 2,000 and 3,000 children will be affected by the new law, according

to Björklund.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:45 October 24, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
Good job encouraging and incentivizing illegal immigration. As if legal immigration is not a big enough issue as is, this will just add fuel to the fire.
16:07 October 24, 2012 by Wynta
Somewhat doubt anyone nefarious is going to be bothered about their kids education :)
16:16 October 24, 2012 by intrepidfox
I think it´s a great idea letting the kids go to school. If the police are smart they should follow the kids home and then deport the family. They are here illegally which is breaking the law.
16:27 October 24, 2012 by Svensksmith
Why be legal at all then?
16:28 October 24, 2012 by Wynta
But *sometimes* legality is just a matter of form-filling, and their children shouldn't have to suffer for the sake of a tick box... In addition, the parents who care about their children going to school (and note, it appears to be optional) probably tend to be more positive members of society.
16:41 October 24, 2012 by StockholmSam
The children that are here illegally now will be here in 15 years. At that point in time, what sort of person do you want such a child to have become? An uneducated criminal? A welfare dependent? Or someone who can be productive, someone who can contribute to Swedish society? The kids are victims in this situation. Get them into school so that when they come out, they can work to support their illegal parents and themselves without resorting to crime. They will probably be given citizenship in the future anyway, why create an army of unemployable vagrants? Give them an education. Besides, it is in all of our interests to get these immigrant kids westernized. Otherwise, they become easy prey for radical fundies. The more they feel at home in Sweden, the better off we all are. If they grow up hating the place, don't be surprised if they try to burn it down.
17:11 October 24, 2012 by Abe L
# 1 - Right on.

# 6 - These people should NOT be here in 15 years. They should be deported along with their parents that should NOT be here either. I do not want to see 50 million kronor of MY tax money being spend on educating people that should NOT be here. I want that tax money to be spend on things that matter to the people that payed it. They are ILLEGAL immigrants for a reason, send the LEGAL ones to school instead. Or preferably, increase the quality of education for the normal population from that money.

This government needs to get their heads out of their asses and start caring and working on the interests of the population. This is as far in the wrong direction as they can go.
17:29 October 24, 2012 by RobinHood
Does the Green Party represent the electorate of Sweden, or an ever-growing underground community of illegal immegrants and their children.
18:22 October 24, 2012 by Svensksmith
In theory this sounds like the right thing to do...educate kids.

However, as the number of illegal aliens increase, the money to fund this education becomes scarce and the legal citizens suffer.
18:44 October 24, 2012 by occassional
When we thought we'd heard it all.

No wonder standards are slipping fast in this country, with education rankings plummeting. When a slain Dutch aristocrat, politician, civil servant, sociologist, author and professor said that uncontrolled immigration will adversely even affect traffic conditions, people were dropping their jaws. Look around you the next time you see someone drive recklessly or with a wardrobe strapped to their car roof. Read between the lines when bullying, truancy, apathetic kids, noisy classrooms, bad behaviour and generally any sort of nonsense that goes on around in Swedish schools gets a mention and most of the time you'll find the cause is one and the same. When you are done reading, remember that only the legal ones could go to school up to now! Enough said.

This was never an economic or political problem ONLY. This is a cultural problem amongst others. Instead of moving ahead we shall be paddling in mediocrity, rowing at the lowest common denominator.

All too often the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
19:30 October 24, 2012 by Grokh
but if they are here illegally why are they getting treated like being legal. i moved legally to sweden and i couldnt go to school until i had all my documentation ready. this is stupid theres a law but only those who do it right have to follow it? what the hell...
22:06 October 24, 2012 by shard
StockholmSam - good grief, a sane and reasonable voice among all the knee-jerk erm... jerks!

Completely agree with everything you say. What the bigots here fail to understand is that it's better to educate these children so they can be taxed later, rather than leave them to become a burden on the state. What they also miss is that these kids will be paying for the posters' pensions in the years to come. The only way to maintain the current pension system is to keep from becoming a mushroom society, top heavy with pensions, as Japan has become. The current government is doing what all Swedish governments have always tried to do, plan for the next 50 years, not just the next five.
00:02 October 25, 2012 by snowmagician
Those among you who firmly say "they should be educated so they won't receive welfare when they become adults" sound as if you are speaking under firm assumption that they will forever be in Sweden.

Why? Why aren't you putting the possibility of deporting them into the consideration?
01:00 October 25, 2012 by Svensksmith

It's not working too well in the US where scores of illegal aliens flood the schools causing the schools districts to cut teacher positions and increase class sizes. Meanwhile the cash strapped states that these schools reside in cut the pensions of the teachers, policemen and firemen to make try and fund all this extra education.

BTW, calling people jerks just because you don't agree with their position seems rather juvenile.
01:11 October 25, 2012 by feathernoodle
Yes, children need to be educated. And yes, it sucks that they have parents who are lawbreakers. Encouraging people to move to Sweden (or in our case, the U.S.) without going through the proper channels by offering them the same benefits that a legal immigrant gets is a recipe for disaster. Have you not figured out yet that you have more people taking from your "generous welfare" system than paying into it? How long before it collapses and these people move on to another country because yours is ruined? These people need to be deported and apply for residency like the thousands of others that move to Sweden and not start their new life in Sweden as a criminal.

I can tell you, the U.S. is a MUCH bigger country and we have the same thing happening here and it is draining our resources. They know they can come here and get free housing, food, education, money and rights and even demand that we speak only Spanish to them because they don't want to learn English. There are many towns along the Mexican borders where if you happened upon them, you'd think you'd accidentally crossed the border into Mexico because NOTHING is in English and they're flying the Mexican flag.

I love immigration, I love cultures, I love the diversity - but it's not fair to people who work their who lives getting things in order to immigrate to their new country legally and become new citizens to have thousands of illegal criminals (and yes, it's breaking the law to cross into the U.S. without permission, so you are a criminal, (not sure how it works in Sweden since no-one has ever asked me for my passport when I've been there) Laws are there for a reason, not just to annoy one political party or special interest group. They are there to protect ALL the citizens of that country. It makes me sad to see this happening to Sweden because your decline will come much more quickly as you're not prepared to deal with the violence and criminal behavior that follow people who have no problem breaking the law and even get rewarded for it.
02:16 October 25, 2012 by StockholmSam

American public schools are not supported by taxes to the extent that Swedish schools are. American publics are essentially privatized with families footing a large part of the bill; many people pay thousands of dollars to send a kid to a public school for a year. When illegals are given access to American education without paying the fees, the schools have to foot the bill. That is why it isn't working over there.


Sweden, on the other hand, knows how to invest its tax revenues in the proper societal functions in order to build a better future. Education is a key strategy. Had Sweden not raised massive tax revenues and reinvested a good chunk of those into education the past half century, we would look more like Romania today than the socio-economic model that is the envy of more and more of the world's nations today.

Finally, there are some gross overstatements in this discussion about the number of illegal immigrant children in Sweden, as if letting them come to school is suddenly going to overflow the classrooms. Don't be silly. There are not enough illegal immigrant children in Sweden to put even one in every school. I would say one student in every hundredth school is a more accurate guess. We're making a mountain out of a molehill with this debate, really.
04:40 October 25, 2012 by ajs42548
@StockholmSam.. I don't know where you live, but all public schools in the U.S. are supported by tax dollars. In the cities, it's mostly money from the general tax funds but outside the cities the schools are supported mostly by property taxes, with state and federal tax money added to that.
09:38 October 25, 2012 by rise
It's easy to be generous with other people's money. Why should I have to pay for foreign criminals? SD 2014.
10:18 October 25, 2012 by StockholmSam

I am American. Went to public school. Had to pay a bit for it, but not much. That was in the 80s. Today, public schools are broke because state funding has dried up. School costs are being shifted rapidly to the families. This is a fact, not an opinion. Not all public schools demand fees, but many do and the number is growing rapidly. Read the link I provided. It is one of MANY that reveal this to be true.


if you invest in them now, perhaps they will not be criminals tomorrow. Perhaps they will be sources of innovation.

We need to face the fact that, like it or not, the chances of these illegals getting deported is quite low. A few will be, but many will remain here. Traditional policies that push them into hiding have failed. Better to find ways to integrate them rather than facilitate further fracturing of Swedish culture. These kids are growing up in Sweden whether we like it or not. Their skin color or their parents' place of birth has no bearing on their Swedishness unless we make it so. Better to educate them and integrate them young and make them Swedes since the majority of them will still be here in a decade. I would feel differently if it were easy and straightforward to identify, locate and deport illegals, but it is not and we need to find a better method to make Sweden strong. Our competitiveness in the global market depends on mending the fractures that are appearing in Swedish society today.
13:33 October 25, 2012 by intrepidfox
They are illegal. All the garbage above does not matter. The law is being broken.
15:06 October 25, 2012 by Svensksmith
@Stockholm Sam: I am a public school teacher and both of my kids went through the public schools. The vast majority of school funding for public education through high school comes from the local taxpayers via property taxes. Some money comes from the states but many states are far behind in their payments. An even smaller amount comes from the federal government. Yes, there are fees but many of the "disavantaged" don't pay thereby shifting the burden to those that do.

And, yes, I believe in education and your core argument makes sense in the short run. Unfortunately, these do-gooder policies set things in motion which can be very distructive in the long run. Our generous welfare policies in the US, for example, have created a culture of dependency that spans generations. Able bodied people who do not contribute to society drag it down.

As cold as it sounds, sometimes you have to exercise tough love.
15:20 October 25, 2012 by rise
1) Politicians are making laws.

2) Politicians are dictating rules that encourages to break the said laws.

Question: who is paying for the Politician kindergarten?

Answer: workers and taxpayers of Sweden.

The responsibility for the illegal refugee's child is the refugee's - not mine!
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