The idea of repatriating migrants – first put forward by the Alternative for Sweden party ahead of the 2018 elections – has been gaining momentum across Sweden.
In a recent opinion piece in Sweden’s daily newspaper Aftonbladet, Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of the nationalist-populist Sweden Democrats, called for “more reality-based immigration politics”. He also urged Swedes to overhaul any previously held perceptions on migration that they may have had in the past.
In the piece, Åkesson blames what he refers to as the man-made migrant crisis in Sweden on the ruling Social Democrats. At the same time, Åkesson welcomed the center-right Moderate party’s recent call to reduce asylum immigration, but ultimately referred to the proposal as “unambitious”.
For Åkesson, so long as the current situation in Sweden remains as problematic as it is today, the government should look to reduce the number of asylum seekers that it accepts down to zero.
Åkesson also contends that the formation of so-called ‘parallel societies’ should be made impossible, while migrants who live in Sweden illegally must be persuaded in some way to leave the country. In the case that they refuse to leave, Åkesson says that they should be identified and taken into police custody pending their eventual expulsion from the country.
The Sweden Democrats leader also argued that the country’s Migration Board should “more pronouncedly work on repatriation”, which he called “the last step in responsible refugee assistance”.
“At a minimum, anyone who becomes a Swedish citizen must be able to understand Swedish, understand and respect Swedish laws and regulations, and show an understanding of social codes, norms, and values”, Åkesson concluded in his opinion editorial.
Åkesson’s ideas aren’t at all alien to rightist thought in Sweden in 2019. In fact, they’re quickly becoming the new norm.
Ivar Arpi, a leading conservative columnist in Svenska Dagbladet, recently triggered debate after he suggested in a series of tweets that it was time for the Swedish government to seriously consider annual repatriations of so-called refugees.
“Migration Agency: conflict level in Syria lower. For some reason, though, those who have already received refugee status are not affected by this. Why not? In a reasonable world, this would have meant that the Syrians who had come here now would begin to return en masse”, Arpi tweeted.
Since the migrant crisis began in 2015, Sweden has taken in more than 200,000 asylum seekers
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