The Swedish Migration Board has so far this year reported over 280 migrants to the Swedish domestic intelligence forces, warning the number is much higher than in previous years.
According to the head of the migration board’s special initiatives, the situation in Sweden regarding dangerous and potentially dangerous migrants has increased greatly over the past year.
Oskar Ekblad, who heads up the special division, stated that the number of reports relating to migrants with terrorist links, or who have been involved in organised crime and even war crimes have multiplied in the past few years, reports Sverige Radio.
“We are seeing a nearly five-fold increase since 2014 in terms of cases reported to the Security Police,” Mr. Ekblad said, confirming that the migration board is constantly sifting through the waves of migrants in order to uncover any who may be connected with terror groups or committed war crimes.
War crimes cases in particular have gone up from 20 cases in total for last year to 30 cases this year so far. The agency also looks at migrants who may have the potential to commit terror offences in the future.
Mr. Ekblad noted that to screen all migrants for potential terrorist sympathies or criminality would be a massive task which would be both time consuming and expensive, and that therefore the agency has to “act smart” in order to find any potential security risks.
However, as a result of not being able to check every single migrant, Mr. Ekblad believes that there is a distinct possibility that several dangerous migrants may have slipped through the system unnoticed by security officials.
Last year the Swedish government allowed more than 163,000 migrants to enter Sweden, and though the flow of migrants has slowed considerably it has not stopped many who are desperate to enter the country. Sweden is noted as being one of the most generous countries in Europe to migrants, having spent the equivalent of 14 years’ worth of the nation’s defence budget on migrants alone.
While the migration board cannot arrest migrants who are under suspicion of being terrorists or criminals, they are the first line of defence in the Swedish immigration system. Their recommendations to police form the initial basis of any formal investigations. Investigations that in the past year have led to the arrest of at least one Syrian man on suspicion of war crimes.
The main problem with the system for Oskar Ekblad is the time it takes for an investigation to complete. A formal investigation into a migrant can take months and may not even commence until the migrant has been in the country for several months.
“There is not much choice, it takes that much time. We can’t employ 10,000 investigators,” he said mentioning that the security services may have “other methods” to prevent any specific terror attacks to balance the lack of personnel at the migration board.