Bernd Wuestneck, AFP, September 4, 2019
The leader of the party Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson, has penned an opinion piece in the daily newspaper Aftonbladet, spelling out what he called “more reality-based immigration politics”, compared with other parties.
While placing the blame for what he claimed to be a man-made migrant crisis on the ruling Social Democrats and welcoming the centre-right liberal-conservative Moderates’ recent message to reduce asylum immigration, Åkesson called this measure “unambitious”.
According to Åkesson, Sweden should limit the number of accepted asulym seekers to zero, as long as the situation remains as problematic as today.
Furthermore, life in the so-called “parallel society” should be made impossible, while those who are in Sweden illegally must be persuaded to leave the country or efficiently identified and taken into custody pending an expulsion, Åkesson contended.
The Sweden Democrats long-standing 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”.
In conclusion, Åkesson suggested that the entire perception of migration must change. According to him, citizenship can no longer be something that is almost automatically distributed to “those who have been here long enough”.
“As 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 piece co-signed with Sweden Democrat immigration spokesperson Paula Bieler.
The idea of repatriating migrants, pioneered ahead of the 2018 election by the right-wing party Alternative for Sweden, which was formed by maverick Sweden Democrats who thought their mother party wasn’t doing enough, is catching fire in Swedish society.
Last week, Svenska Dagbladet’s leading conservative columnist Ivar Arpi sparked a debate by suggesting in a series of tweets that the time was ripe for Sweden to consider annual repatriation of 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.
While Arpi’s idea was supported by other conservative commenters such as Annie Heberlein, who suggested the very same thing, he was immediately branded “racist” by the liberal-leaning press. Meanwhile, the Sweden Democrats remain a pariah in the Swedish Parliament, despite being the country’s third-largest party with 17.5 percent of the vote.
As the Sweden Democrats were conspicuously left out of the recent cross-party talks on escalating violence in the country, Åkesson suggested this was tantamount to “kicking out the surgeon from the operation room, while the patient is bleeding to death”.
Sweden currently has one of the EU’s most generous immigration policies, having taken in over 200,000 asylum seekers since the 2015 migrant crisis alone.