Denmark is offering immigrants from “non-Western” countries 100,000 Danish kroners (US$20,000) if they volunteer to give up their legal residency and move “home”. This is just one of many creative initiatives spearheaded by the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party to make foreigners - and especially Muslims - feel unwelcome in this small European country of 5.5 million inhabitants.
According to the Danish People's Party, a coalition partner of the two ruling right-wing parties of the Danish government, paying immigrants to leave Denmark will save the state money on social services and “problems” [da] in the long run. “It costs quite a lot to have maladjusted immigrants in Danish society,” said financial spokesperson of the party, Kristian Thulesen Dahl. Funds have also been set aside for campaigns by local authorities who wish to encourage immigrants to leave the country. The government have not yet calculated how many people can be expected to accept the offer.
Around 10% of the population in Denmark are immigrants or descendants of immigrants including from neighboring countries, as well as the rest of the world. The primary issue in politics and the media for the past many years has been the “integration” of Muslim and other non-western immigrants and the tension arising from a perceived clash of cultures. Danish politicians have created some of the most stringent immigration laws in all of Europe, and continue to score high for it in polls.
How much, to leave the country?
In response, a sarcastic public Facebook group [da] protesting the law has been set up to collect 100,000 kroners to pay the leader of the Danish People's Party, Pia Kjærsgård to leave the country.
The group has over 16,000 members, and the tagline says, “100,000 kr. dear friends - and maybe she'll do it”. The group creators pledge to offer any additional money collected to the minister of integration, Birthe Rønn Hornbech from the governing Liberal Party, in case she should be amenable to leaving the country as well.
The debate on the Facebook group page is heated. Some offer witty comments about who else should be kicked out of the country or what else should happen to them, while others counter that the offer from the Danish government is a generous offer and should be welcomed by immigrants who are unhappy in Denmark and would prefer to leave. One commenter disagrees with the hype, and reminds everyone that a similar policy has been in place for several years, but the amount of money on offer was only 10 times smaller.
Facebook commenter Dan Cornali Jørgensen says [da]:
Jeg har måske misforstået konceptet?
Drejer det sig ikke om et lovforslag som giver ikke-integrerbare udlændige mulighed for at sige ja-tak, til en check på 100.000 kr. mod tilsagn om frivilligt at rejse hjem til deres oprindelsesland? Umidelbart virker det storsindet og absolut humanistisk, da vi må formode at 100.000… kr. er en anseelig formue i det pågældende land, og nok til at starte en anstændig tilværelse i det land som de tilsyneladende har så stærk tilknytning til…
Isn't it about a law that would give un-integratable foreigners the opportunity to say yes-please to a check of 100,000 kr. to voluntarily travel home to their country of origin? It seems magnanimous and absolutely humanitarian since we must assume that 100,000 kr. is something of a fortune in that country, and enough to start a decent existence in the country they apparently have a strong attachment to…
Pensioners must report travel of more than 2 months
Another initiative negotiated this month by Danish People's Party is a law that requires all pensioners and early retirees in Denmark [da] to report to their city government if they plan to leave Denmark for more than two months at a time. Ostensibly, the goal is to stop people “for instance, Iraqis” from receiving pension payments in Denmark while they may be collecting wages in another country at the same time. The most popular example is that of an Iraqi-Danish politician, Samia Aziz Mohammad, who was discovered to be collecting pension funds while she was earning high wages from the Iraqi parliament. She has since paid the money back [da] to the Danish government. Another pensioner was discovered by the Danish press to be earning wages from the Kurdish parliament.
Members of parliament of both the Liberal Party and the Danish People's Party have argued that the new restrictions will also cut down on holiday visits by fake refugees to their home countries, and repatriation of family members who spend too much time abroad.
The fact that all Danish pensioners wil in effect will become suspects of fraud is something the biggest association of the elderly in Denmark, DaneAge, is vocally angry [da] about. Many comments on newspaper articles [da] support the government's attempt to cut down on fraud, while others draw comparisons to East Germany (GDR) travel bans of the past.
One Danish blogger, Erik Bentzen on Dette og Hint, says [da]:
Enhver kan sige sig selv, at meldepligten ikke dæmmer op for noget som helst, da den ikke indebærer nogen form for effektiv kontrol.
Det er ren chikane og tom signalpolitik, som øger kommunernes administrative arbejde til ingen verdens nytte.
Reglen er så amøbeintelligent, at den forhåbentlig giver bagslag, næste gang pensionisterne skal til stemmeurnerne.
This is pure harassment and empty symbolic politics, which increases the administrative work of local government for no reason whatsoever.
The rule is so amoebae-intelligent that it hopefully will result in backlash next time the pensioners will vote.