The immigration ministry will be one of the most legislatively busy in Denmark this parliament, with 17 legal changes put forward to make it tougher for foreigners to get citizenship.
While many of the new laws proposed may seem harsh, they have been formulated with the best interests of the nation at heart. Heavy emphasis is now placed on the ability of foreigners to integrate and contribute in Danish society, giving hope to fellow Europeans but casting doubt on the status of the hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees moving up through Europe from Africa and the East.
Speaking at the opening of parliament in Copenhagen yesterday, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen outlined how up until this point, integration had been allowed to utterly fail in Denmark. He told the chamber: “We need to speak openly about the fact that there is a difference between being a refugee and being an economic migrant. We can never cope with a mass migration that is borne upon the desire for a better life, regardless of how understandable that desire is”.
“Thus far, integration has failed. Of all the immigrants from non-Western countries, not even a half are employed. Even though many have been here for 10, 20 or 30 years. It is deeply worrying”.
TheLocal.dk reports the Danish PM also used his speech to announce a new referendum, giving Danes a say on whether the nation signs up to the European Union’s common asylum and immigration policies. Up until now the nation has opted out of compulsory resettlement of refugees, and the announcement is an attempt by the right-wing government to put the matter to bed permanently.
The policy document put out by the Ministry for Immigration, Integration and Housing sets out a number of further areas where the government will be tightening up controls. One of the most significant changes will be to family reunification rules, which allow a single migrant, once settled to apply to have the rest of their family join them – receiving automatic citizenships in the process. Many European nations have such legislation, including Sweden and Germany, which has led to accusations that families abroad send the most vulnerable, and consequently likely to receive asylum, member to Europe as a sort of grappling hook.
The new rules will mean foreigners whose families are less likely to be able to integrate into Danish society will be less likely to receive family reunifications, while foreigners from compatible backgrounds will be fast-tracked.
Proposals to row back on changes made by the last government to make the giving of Danish citizenship to the children of foreigners born in Denmark easier have also been made. The practice of migrant parents giving birth in their new country and using the citizenship of their child as a pretence to stay has given the rise of the label ‘anchor babies‘ in the United States.
Some other moves have already been announced. Breitbart London reported yesterday the Danish plan to expand treason laws to encompass citizens who travelled abroad to fight Jihad.
While the right-wing coalition that now rules Denmark only recently won a convincing victory at the national elections, the left-wing opposition is determined to fight the changes, and last night held a march through Copenhagen to demand “decent treatment of refugees”. TheLocal.dk reports upwards of 20,000 attended the event, with torch-bearing protestors shouting well-worn slogans such as “say it loud and say it clear, refugees are welcome here”.
The protesters will have a lot to complain about. Hardline immigration and integration minister Inger Støjberg has already cut benefits for migrants, replacing unemployment payments with much lower integration benefits, the payments for which are dependent on migrants learning Danish.