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Denmark: Immigrants offered money to leave the country

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?

facebook page screenshotIn 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…

Have I perhaps misunderstood the concept?
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.

Anybody can see, that the new reporting rule isn't going to stop any fraud, since it does not involve any kind of effective control.

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.

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  • http://heartshare.dk Søren Holmberg

    I am wondering if I somehow can tweak this legislation into my advantage. Claiming that it is discrimination if only non-western people who can get this money. If I, as a Dane, claim that I cannot be integrated with the current danish views on other people, human rights and that I do not want to accept the current use of tax money.
    - Maybe I can get the $ 20.000. Who would like to invite me to their country?

  • http://imedierne.blogspot.com Jakob Bjerregaard

    Good post, Solana.

    Maybe it should be added, in order to fully understand how powerful the Danish People’s Party really is, that this latest legislation was negotiated as part of the annual Budget negotiations. As DPP is the supporting party for the liberal and conservative governtment parties, the government is repeatedly forced to give concessions to the DPP in order to get its own bills approved.

    Yesterday, the New York Times had a fine article (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/12/world/europe/12copenhagen.html) on some of these matters, more specifically about the Danish reluctance towards having a mosque in the Danish capital.

    • masihi banda

      I believe Denmark is for Danish people even though I am somewhat of a middle eastern descent and lived in a Islamic country most of my life as a persecuted Christian. In the Islamic world nobody gives a damn about the human rights of minorities to the point that they want to eradicate Christians once and for all.

      The Sharia laws and the blasphemy laws are there as an insurance of that goal. I think every Western country should show some guts and stop the momentum they have gained. The very same people who demand rights in the West are the first to deny rights to minorities in their countries. They show no allegiance or loyalty to the host countries that helped them for generations. For example: Army Major Nidal Husan, of a Jordanian descent, who was born and bred in the US, and killed all those innocent people in the name of his god. Undermining all the right and freedom he enjoyed as an American, and yet his loyalty was somewhere buried in the sand dunes of Arabia and in the Bedouin ideology.

      If the churches and the Bibles are banned in that part of the world then building of mosques and minarets should also be banned in the West to balance things out. I say the misfits should fit where they came from. The immigration of such population is another issue. The world is being populated by leaps and bounds with devastating results on the economy, and no country should be obligated to invite people who don’t appreciate its laws and the constitution.

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  • Jakob Bjerregaard

    @ Masihi

    I’m sure you’re right that some Muslim countries do no respect the rights of minorities, but how would it possibly make it any better that Western countries show the same hostility towards minorities?

    I also agree that people immigrating to Western countries should preferably appreciate that country’s laws and constitution to a greater extent than is mostly the case, but don’t you think it is generally going to make tensions between Westerners and Muslims worse if for instance you ban the building of mosques and minarets, as you suggested?

    • masihi banda

      jakob

      It’s a loaded question, how do you solve such a problem without being undemocratic. There are no easy solutions here. I would never suggest to be hostile toward or create tensions for the minorities. Since I am also a minority myself, an American of Pakistani origin, I would never entertain such thoughts. It wouldn’t be democratic or a healthy act of tolerance. It would never work in the present day world order anyway. Everyone must abide by the laws of the host country or find another country to live in. Simple as that.

      However, there is a case to be made regarding certain religious groups who adamantly oppose and show great displeasure of Western culture and society. And they are serious about imposing the draconian Bedouin order on to the Western world. They must come under some sort of legal control regarding their anti-state activities.

      My best answer to this problem is to be humble like the doves but don’t be stupid, be clever like the serpents but don’t be gullible. Don’t be overcome of evil but overcome evil with good.

      The government of Denmark has taken initial steps by allowing some to leave with parting money gifts. I think it’s a good idea. Furthermore, if the mosques spawn all kinds of jihadist evil then the Danish people have the right to ban the construction of such buildings also, and limit the immigration of such people.

  • Jakob Bjerregaard

    I agree to the extent that it may be easier to integrate the remaining immigrants if some leave, but it’s just a really unfortunate situation that these steps are considered necessary.

    Obviously, there must be “some sort of legal control regarding their anti-state activities”, but I’m not sure I agree further steps are needed. Despite the attempt to kill Muhammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard recently, one might argue that the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, along with the intelligence services of other countries, is taking care of the most dangerous matters in a successful way.

    Anyway, I makes a big impression to hear these thoughts from a person with Pakistani origin.

    Best,

    • masihi banda

      Jakob

      It would be a great world if people honored and respected each other’s culture. But we don’t live in a perfect world. It would be great if the immigrants could buy into the patriotism and the nationalism of a host country but they don’t. In most cases the honeymoon is over quickly, more often than not it turns into a negative attitude when people start getting ‘holier than thou attitude’, then the whole trust thing begins to break down. Or when the welcomed guests turn jihadists then the welcome itself starts to wear out quickly. This is the reality of the world and the dilemma the entire Western world faces. The question is how do you incorporate immigrants to buy into the value system and culture of a host country? You just don’t.
      It is well known, as soon as the immigrants establish themselves financially or otherwise they tend to show their anti-patriotic attitude that says thank you but we don’t need you anymore, we want to do our thing now. Doing your own thing could also mean I don’t give a damn about you and your country. One thing is for sure; every Western country must plan in advance such preventive methods to control such negative attitudes from spawning. Firstly it is a privilege not a right to live in a host country. Saudi Arabia functions well under such principles. From the get go they don’t allow you to build churches or import Bibles. They tell you right out you have no rights here except a select few privileges. Yet people of all cultures go there and buy into their laws without much fuss. No I don’t agree with that philosophy entirely but I believe a good rule of law must be established early on to prevent such issues. Ultimately the goal is to bind all people into the laws of the land and merits of peace and freedom.
      Salaam, Peace, Shalom!

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