Sunday, September 13, 2015

Swedish experience shows folly of welcoming unassimilable immigrants

Today's theme is the "refugee crisis" faced by Europe, into which the USA and Canada are now being drawn by the do-good frenzy being whipped up by the usual gang of one-worlders, "progressive thinkers" and the lamestream media. Oh, those poor oppressed refugees! We have a duty to help them because we are our brothers' (and sisters') keepers. Never mind that the majority of them are bogus asylum-seekers coming not just from Syria but from anywhere from Bangladesh to Nigeria to suck off European and American teats.

After posting "What happens when your city can't handle any more refugees", Walt learned that Germany is "temporarily" reinstituting border controls, which goes against the "open borders" principle of the Schengen agreement. (The agreement does, however, allow for temporary suspensions of its rules.) Why? Because they're expecting eight hundred thousand (800,000!) "refugees" before the end of 2015, and, according to Germany's Vice-Chancellor, is "at the limit of its capabilities".

Perhaps the German cabinet has heard about the problems faced by Sweden in welcoming hordes of refugees and other immigrants from the Third World who cannot or will not be assimilated into Swedish society. As the Globe and Mail's Margaret Went wrote this weekend in "Sweden’s ugly immigration problem", Sweden has the most welcoming asylum policies and most generous welfare programs in the European Union. How is that working out? Some sobering statistics are to be found in these excerpts from Ms Wente's article.

In Migrants Who Survived Shipwreck Are Grateful, but Disillusioned, a typical refugee, Natanael Haile, [tells how he] barely escaped drowning in the Mediterranean in 2013. But the folks back home in Eritrea don’t want to know about the perils of his journey.... They want to know about "his secondhand car, the government allowances he receives and his plans to find work as a welder once he finishes a two year language course." As a registered refugee, he receives a monthly living allowance of more than $700.

Sweden takes in more refugees per capita than any other European country, and immigrants – mainly from the Middle East and Africa – now make up about 16 per cent of the population. The main political parties, as well as the mainstream media, support the status quo. Questioning the consensus is regarded as xenophobic and hateful. [No kidding. Walt] Now all of Europe is being urged to be as generous as Sweden.

Ms Wente quotes at length from her interview with Tino Sanandaji, a Kurdish-Swedish economist who was born in Iran and moved to Sweden when he was 10. He has a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago and specializes in immigration issues.

"There has been a lack of integration among non-European refugees," [he told her]. "48 per cent of immigrants of working age don’t work, he said. Even after 15 years in Sweden, their employment rates reach only about 60 per cent. Sweden has the biggest employment gap in Europe between natives and non-natives."

In Sweden, where equality is revered, inequality is now entrenched. 42 per cent of the long-term unemployed are immigrants, Mr. Sanandaji said. 58 per cent of welfare payments go to immigrants. 45 per cent of children with low test scores are immigrants. Immigrants on average earn less than 40 per cent of Swedes. The majority of people charged with murder, rape and robbery are either first- or second-generation immigrants. "Since the 1980s, Sweden has had the largest increase in inequality of any country in the OECD," Mr. Sanandaji said.

Sweden’s generosity costs a fortune, at a time when economic growth is stagnant. The country now spends about $4-billion a year on settling new refugees – up from $1-billion a few years ago, Mr. Sanandaji said.

Yet Sweden’s acute immigration problems scarcely feature in the mainstream media. Journalists see their mission as stopping racism, so they don’t report the bad news. Despite – or perhaps because of – this self-censorship, the gap between the opinion elites and the voters on immigration issues is now a chasm.

According to a recent opinion poll, 58 per cent of Swedes believe there is too much immigration, Mr. Sanandaji noted. The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party is now polling at between 20 per cent and 25 per cent.

Sweden is a cautionary tale for anyone who believes that Europe is capable of assimilating the hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants who are besieging the continent, or the millions more who are desperately poised to follow in their wake. The argument that these people are vital to boost the economy – that they will magically create economic growth and bail the Europeans out of their demographic decline – is a fantasy.

It’s really very simple, Mr. Sanandaji explained. You can’t combine open borders with a welfare state. “If you’re offering generous welfare benefits to every citizen, and anyone can come and use these benefits, then a very large number of people will try to do that. And it’s just mathematically impossible for a small country like Sweden to fund those benefits.”

Things will get worse before they get better. As Judy Dempsey, a senior analyst at a Berlin think tank, told The Wall Street Journal, [in Migrant Wave Inspires Others to Attempt Trek to Europe. Walt] "Europe hasn’t seen anything yet in terms of the numbers or the backlash."

Politically correct footnote:
Just noticed that the uber-liberal Toronto Red Star has stopped talking about the "refugee crisis". Now it's a "migrant crisis". Guess the term "refugee" has acquired a certain taint. [Duly noted. Ed.]

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