We recently visited Norway and Sweden to understand more about the European migrant crisis. What we saw provides important lessons for the American immigration debate.
More than 1.5 million people have relocated to Europe over the last two years. Many are refugees from Syria, Iraq and other war-torn lands. Many are simply economic migrants leaving poorer nations. This mass migration has strained European societies and upended European politics with populist insurgencies.
Though economically and demographically similar, Norway and Sweden have adopted sharply different approaches to the policy and politics of immigration, and have reaped sharply differing outcomes.
Starting in 2015, Norway adopted an immigration policy it has termed “strict but fair.” The Norwegians agreed to accept 8,000 migrants from other European nations, though they weren’t obligated to do so.
Norway also established measures to stop uncontrolled migration. It imposed new border controls featuring a border fence, increased waiting periods for residency and deportation of ineligible migrants. It also reduced migrant benefits to match those offered by its neighbors. Norway even advertised in foreign nations, warning that migrants who do not face war or persecution will be deported.
The result? Asylum applications in Norway fell 95% between the last quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.
Contrast this with Sweden’s approach. Sweden threw open its doors in 2013, offering Syrian refugees permanent residency. Asylum applications from across the world—not just Syria—spiked. Sweden has since received more than 280,000 migrants, and counting. That is by far the most migrants per capita of any EU nation and akin to the U.S. adding the population of Michigan. These migrants are disproportionately poor, young, male, undereducated, conservatively Muslim and possess virtually no Swedish-language skills.
This radical policy occurred with little debate because political correctness pervades Sweden. They even have a term for the phenomenon: åsiktskorridor, or “the opinion corridor.” Any questions about the economic, fiscal and cultural impact of an immediate influx of migrants clearly lay outside the corridor; asking them could result in accusations of xenophobia or racism.
READ MORE AT : http://www.wsj.com/articles/what-we-learned-in-scandinavia-about-migrants-1474932369