Police can search schools for asylum kids

Children of undocumented immigrants hiding in Sweden will have the right to go to school in the autumn and the police will have the right to search for them there, ending uncertainty over conflicting legislation.

The Swedish government announced in October 2012 that undocumented immigrant children in Sweden will be allowed to go to school as of July 1st 2013 prompting police to complain that it had become difficult to enforce conflicting policies.

The government at the same time has told police that they are to be tougher on tracking those who have been denied asylum. This created something of a grey zone in the law where police could track down families through the school system.

Save the Children, among others, tabled calls to make it illegal for police to take asylum-seeking children out of school. But these calls have been ignored and police will be given the right to search schools.

The National Union of Teachers (Lärarnas Riksförbund) is critical of the situation.

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.

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.

Between 2,000 to 3,000 children are thought to be affected by the law.

TT/The Local/pvs

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